New year, new chief for West Midlands Fire Service - The Coventry Observer

New year, new chief for West Midlands Fire Service

Coventry Editorial 10th Dec, 2022   0

THE TOP boss at West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) will retire at the start of next year.

Chief Fire Officer Phil Loach said he would step down as head of the country’s second largest fire and rescue service in January after nine years in the job.

An interim Chief Fire Officer will take charge until his successor is appointed.

Born and raised in the Black Country, he joined WMFS in January 1994 as a recruit firefighter after working in both the private and public sectors.

He served as a firefighter across Birmingham and the Black Country before taking up roles including Operations Commander for Birmingham, Head of Emergency Response, Assistant Chief Fire Officer (Operations) and Deputy Chief Fire Officer.

In 2017, Mr Loach was awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal for his distinguished service and commitment to making the West Midlands conurbation a safer place in which to live and work.

In 2019, the service was the first and only to be graded ‘outstanding’ for 999 emergency response by the sector’s national inspectorate.

He said being the West Midlands’ Chief Fire Officer had been ‘a privilege’.

“Whilst the decision to retire was a difficult one, I’m very much looking forward to the next chapter in my life and to more precious time with my family.”

He thanked the entire West Midlands Fire Service staff, adding: “Their collective strength, will and determination to succeed has made the West Midlands a truly safer place, whilst also making this service a great place to work.

“I will look back with immense pride on the achievements of so many colleagues, not least their remarkable response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In incredibly challenging times, they remained ready, willing and able to keep delivering our core services and much more besides for the most vulnerable in our communities.”

The West Midlands Chief Fire Officer is responsible for emergency response, business safety and community safety services for more than 2.9million people across seven council areas – Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Coventry and Solihull.

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