Phil Loach, our Chief Fire Officer, has been awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal (QFSM) in the New Year Honours list.
The accolade, which recognises his distinguished service, was announced this evening (29 Dec 2017).
Reacting to the award, CFO Loach said: “I am extremely proud to have been awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal. My family are delighted and I would like to thank them for their amazing support, without which I’m sure this recognition would not have been possible.
“I’m fortunate enough to thoroughly enjoy my work and career with West Midlands Fire Service and in the wider fire, rescue and public sector.
“The role of Chief Fire Officer and the work of all of our staff and volunteers comes with many challenges. I never cease to be impressed by the commitment and dedication of people throughout West Midlands Fire Service whose efforts keep our communities safe day in, day out.
“I recognise their dedication and thank them and members of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority for their valuable contributions to public service in this amazing region of ours.”
Born and raised in the Black Country, Phil joined West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) in January 1994 as a Recruit Firefighter. He had previously worked in both the private and public sectors.
He served as a firefighter across Birmingham and the Black Country, and went on to take up roles including Operations Commander for Birmingham, Head of Emergency Response, Assistant Chief Fire Officer (Operations) and Deputy Chief Fire Officer. He was appointed Chief Fire Officer in October 2014.
As head of the country’s second largest metropolitan fire service, he is responsible for the provision of emergency response, business safety and community safety services to more than 2.7 million people across the seven council areas of Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Coventry and Solihull.
He actively provides a leadership role on public service reform for West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), as well as the authority’s work supporting people including children and young adults with multiple and complex needs.
He is also Vice-Chair of the National Fire Chiefs’ Council, a Governor of West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, and a patron of the charity ‘BURNAID’ which supports burn survivors in the West Midlands.
Councillor John Edwards, Chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “Phil Loach has dedicated the whole of his service as a firefighter to communities here in the West Midlands.
“Having risen through the ranks to become Chief Fire Officer, he now provides inspiring leadership to everyone who works for West Midlands Fire Service in addition to playing a pivotal and influential role in the fire and rescue sector across the UK.”
Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, Nick Hurd, said: “The Queen’s Fire Service Medal is a symbol of outstanding devotion to duty and Chief Fire Officer Phil Loach has been a shining example of this, serving in every rank in West Midlands Fire Service during his career.
“Under his leadership, West Midland Fire Service has become more innovative and inclusive and I thank him for his years of dedicated service.”
Mr Loach is expected to be presented with his QFSM at a ceremony in London in the new year.