Chief Fire Officer announces retirement

West Midlands' Chief Fire Officer, Phil Loach, to step down in New Year



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Published on 29 November 2022

'My great privilege, serving people of the West Midlands as CFO'

The Chief Fire Officer of West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS), Phil Loach QFSM, has announced that he is to retire.

He will step down as head of the country’s second largest fire and rescue service in January. An interim Chief Fire Officer will take charge until his successor is appointed.

In 2017, Phil 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.

He has driven a wide-ranging transformation of the service and championed WMFS’s highly-regarded contribution to the community safety agenda.

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

Phil said: “It has been a great privilege to have served as Chief Fire Officer for the people of the West Midlands. 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.

“I would like to thank the entire staff of West Midlands Fire Service. 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.”

Former Chief Fire Officer Phil Loach

As head of the country’s second largest metropolitan fire service, Phil is responsible for the provision of emergency response, business safety and community safety services to more than 2.9 million people across the seven council areas of Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Coventry and Solihull.

Born and raised in the Black Country, he joined WMFS in January 1994 as a recruit firefighter, having 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 2013.

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