Appointment of new Chief Fire Officer at TWFRS

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority (TWFRA) have appointed Peter Heath as their new Chief Fire Officer.

Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther announced in March this year that he intended to retire from his position with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS).

The chairperson of the Service’s Fire and Rescue Authority, Cllr Phil Tye, immediately began the task of appointing his replacement.

Now, following an open and robust recruitment process, he has announced that Peter Heath will be appointed as Chief Fire Officer.

Peter had been serving as Deputy Chief Fire Officer in Tyne and Wear since joining from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in 2020.

Chief Fire Officer Lowther will remain in post until he leaves the Service following a handover period. This will be no later than October 31st.

Peter will hold the position of Chief Fire Officer Designate during that time before replacing Chris as Chief Fire Officer upon his retirement.

He said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my three years with the Service and am excited to continue to work hard to keep communities in Tyne and Wear safe.

“Every single day I am impressed by the hard work and dedication of staff and volunteers across the Service.

“Whether that is front line firefighters, our Fire Control staff, or those who fulfil many of our corporate roles.

“I want to thank Chief Fire Officer Lowther for his support and guidance throughout my time in the Service.

“And I also want to thank the Fire and Rescue Authority for putting their faith in me to lead this great Service. I can’t wait to get started.”

Cllr Phil Tye, the Chairperson of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “I am pleased to be able to confirm Peter’s appointment as Chief Fire Officer of Tyne and Wear.

“He was an exceptional candidate and has exciting plans for how this Service can continue to create the safest community.

“Chief Fire Officer Lowther will remain in post in the coming months to ensure a smooth handover and I am confident Peter is by far the best person for the job moving forward.”

Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther said: “Peter has had a transformational impact on the Service since he joined us three years ago.

“He knows this Service well and it makes my decision to retire a lot easier knowing that the organisation is being left in safe hands.

“I believe TWFRS is the best fire and rescue service in the country and I look forward to seeing Peter take us to even greater heights.”

Peter joined the Fire Service in 1992 when he began a career as a firefighter with the Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade in Scotland.

He served at several fire stations across Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders as Firefighter, Leading Firefighter, Sub Officer and Station Officer.

Peter also held roles as a Fire Safety Enforcement Officer, training Officer, in Operational Planning as well as a range of managerial and leadership roles including a two-year secondment to the Scottish Fire Services College as a Group Manager in the learning development team.

In 2013, following the creation of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Peter was Programme Manager and led work on Operational Response and Resilience to ensure readiness for the commencement of the new service on day one.

In 2020 Peter joined TWFRS as Deputy Chief Fire Officer, a position he has served for the last three years.

An announcement on the timeline for the retirement of Chief Fire Officer Lowther will be made later this year.

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