Shropshire’s Chief Fire Officer John Redmond has announced his retirement after a distinguished 32 year career in the Fire and Rescue Service.
He has led the county brigade through some of the harshest austerity measures ever to hit the fire service slashing £3 million off the budget while keeping open county fire stations faced with closure.
His time in charge was characterised by budget reductions and shrinking resources due the Government’s austerity programme.
But the brigade was streamlined while maintaining public safety as Mr Redmond guided the service to make £3m savings “of taxpayers’ money” including reducing staff through natural wastage and not replacing those who retired. All areas of the service were reviewed to further reduce costs. Fire station staffing and the location of the 999 fire control system were also reviewed.
During his leadership the county’s 23 fire stations remained open while fires and other emergencies were reduced due to the brigade’s continued public education campaigns to raise awareness about safety. Dealing with floods, water rescues, road traffic collisions, animal rescues and any emergency such as the recent intricate rescue of a worker buried under thousands of tons of cheese in Hinstock, highlight the importance of Shropshire’s Fire and Rescue Service, he said.
“Achieving our performance objectives and maintaining fire stations and fire engines during this austerity period is testament to the commitment and flexibility of all of our staff.
“It has been an honour to be the Chief Fire Officer of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service and I am indebted to all our staff, past and present, who have worked so hard to deliver an exceptional cost effective service to the local community and those further afield.”
Mr Redmond first joined London Fire Brigade in 1983 before moving to Cheshire Fire Brigade in 1995. He has spent a total of six years in Shropshire, first as deputy chief, before promotion to the top job in 2013.
Over the past three years, Shropshire Fire and Rescue has been involved in several high profile events including firefighters heavily involved in the UK floods in 2014 and most recently in Cumbria.
He has spearheaded the brigade’s involvement with 30 other agencies, including councils, the Red Cross, housing trusts and motoring organisations to work together to protect the community.
Mr Redmond said he was “particularly proud” of the partnerships working together to make life safer for the county’s most vulnerable residents.
Fire Authority chairman, Councillor Stuart West, said: “It has been a pleasure to work alongside John during his time as Deputy Chief Fire Officer and ultimately as Chief Fire Officer. John inherited major financial difficulties when he became Chief and has steered Shropshire Fire and Rescue through difficult times which has helped us to achieve substantial savings, without major impact to the service we provide.
“On behalf of the Fire Authority and from me personally, I wish John all the best in his retirement and hope he maintains contact with us.”
Mr Redmond retires on July 12th.
For more information, go to www.shropshirefire.gov.uk