Fire Chief to Retire

Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor

Shropshire's fire chief is to retire after four years at the top at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor announced his retirement today as his service was applauded for consistently being one of the best performing brigade's in the whole of the UK.

Mr Taylor, who will remain in the post until the summer, said that he wanted to spend more time with his wife Denise and their new granddaughter Jasmine.

"I have enjoyed every single day of my time with the fire service and that is without doubt due to the tremendous help and support that I have received throughout my career from so many great people."

Awarded the Queen's Fire Service Medal for distinguished service in the 2008 Queen's Birthday Honours List, Mr Taylor and his family recently attended Buckingham Palace to receive the award.

Mr Stuart West, chairman of the Shropshire & Wrekin Fire Authority, said that Mr Taylor was an "excellent" Chief Fire Officer for the county of Shropshire.

"He has turned things around dramatically with the retained service and it will be very sad to lose him. It has been an absolute pleasure to work with him and he will be missed."

A former boy soldier and ex-pupil at the Wakeman School in Shrewsbury, Mr Taylor joined Shropshire Fire Service as a trainee after a successful Army career. Stationed at Shrewsbury as a firefighter, he rose through the ranks to become head of the fire service in 2005.

During his 25 year career with the Shropshire service he has seen the county fire service change from being a reactive emergency service putting out fires to a proactive force carrying out a wide variety of public education campaigns.

As head of the county fire and rescue service, Mr Taylor has seen fires in the county fall to their lowest ever level due to "robust" community fire safety initiatives which have included firefighters "adopting" schools, educating all ages on fire prevention and launching successful campaigns to fit thousands of free smoke alarms into homes.

An overhaul of the retained firefighter scheme has seen better pay and benefits for members with rural firefighters rewarded for their efforts and up to date equipment fitted onto modern fire trucks throughout the county.

Firefighters are trained in how to rescue people from house fires, carry out water rescues and from collapsed buildings. They are also highly trained and prepared for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and mass decontamination procedures.

Although one of the smallest UK fire services, Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is known as an innovator with many of its fire prevention strategies being adopted by colleagues across the country.

13th February, 2009