Strategic Enabling Team

Our leadership team, which we call the 'Strategic Enabling Team' (SET) is dedicated to guiding the shape and direction of our service and ensuring that we’re meeting our legal responsibilities.

Comprising a diverse group of managers across various departments. We have profiles for each member and this one, for Martin, tells you about them, their areas of responsibility and more.

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Our Leadership

Area Commander Martin Ward-White - Head of Operations
Area Commander

Martin Ward-White

Head of Operations

Preferred pronouns
He/Him/His

Skill set and experience

Since joining as a firefighter in 2004, Martin has undertaken several roles across the service including emergency planning, integrated risk management, specialist response and organisational policy and assurance.

Operationally Martin has been involved in some of the Services most notable incidents. These include the Services response to the Birmingham Tornado in 2005, the Belgrave Middleway crash which claimed the lives of six people in 2017, Ops Mooring involving 8 stabbings in Birmingham in 2020, the Babbs Mill Lake tragedy in 2022 and the Major incident at David Woods Bakery in 2023.

Between 2017 and 2021 he was seconded out as a technical advisor for the National Fire Chiefs Council’s Community Risk Programme, working to deliver tools for use by services nationally to develop their community risk management plans.

Externally, Martin has undertaken emergency planning work for local authorities giving him a wider range of experience beyond the fire service.

Professional qualifications or memberships

Academically Martin has completed a variety of learning which has helped support him in his career.

This has included completing a foundation degree in Leadership and Management, a CMI level 7 award in Digital Leadership and receiving a Masters with Distinction in Emergency Planning, Resilience and Response.

Currently, he is leading ground-breaking PhD level research into the use of psychology and behavioural science to understand how the fire service can improve the way it identifies people at greater risk of fire in the community.

Operationally, Martin has been awarded the level 7 qualification in strategic incident command by the Fire Service College which is complemented by further operational qualifications such as the Multi-Agency Gold Incident Command course and the CBRN Tactical & Strategic Course.

In his strategic role within West Midlands Fire Service, Martin is a member of the National Fire Chiefs Council.

Work history

Martin spent all of his time as a firefighter on Birmingham South Command, serving at Bournbrook and Northfield Fire Stations before moving into various department roles from 2013.

Currently, Martin oversees operations and our 38 fire stations delivering our prevention, protection and response activities to our communities. He is also responsible for facilities management, which ensures our building stock provides the necessary means by which we can deliver our full range of services.

Operationally, in addition to firefighting and incident command experience, Martin has undertaken various specialist roles. This includes being a Detection Identification Monitoring Officer, under the country’s national resilience arrangements, and as a National Inter-Agency Liaison Officer (NILO).

In 2022 Martin received a Chief Fire Officers Commendation for actions he took en route to a fire where he came across a serious road traffic collision which required him to render lifesaving interventions to a member of the public.