Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Steve Apter, has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Fire Service Medal.

The honour is bestowed on those who have displayed distinguished service or gallantry.

DCFO Apter led the former Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service through significant improvement and change, and as Deputy Commissioner for London Fire Brigade attended many significant incidents, including the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack and Grenfell Tower fire.

Over the last 15 months he has managed HIWFRS’ response to the Covid-19 pandemic and was responsible for overseeing the formal combination of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire Service as we became one service in April.

DCFO Apter said: “I am truly honoured and humbled to have been awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal.

“I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to work with the best teams who I have learned so much from.

“However, by far the best team is my family who have supported me and been there throughout, in good times and the most challenging times. This award is very much the Apter’s Team Award!”

HIWFRS’ Chief Fire Officer, Neil Odin, said: “Steve’s inclusion in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list is richly deserved.

“It’s a fitting tribute to the commitment and passion he has displayed throughout his career and we are all delighted for him.”

DCFO Apter began his fire service career as a retained firefighter on the Isle of Wight in 1990 and he became a wholetime firefighter a year later. He went on to be appointed as Chief Fire Officer for the Island’s fire service in 2011.

Following the strategic partnership with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service in 2015, he initially transferred to HIWFRS and, following a period of secondment as the Deputy Chief Fire Officer to East Sussex Fire Service, he was appointed Deputy Commissioner in London Fire Brigade in 2016.

In 2019, he returned to HIWFRS as Deputy Chief Fire Officer and Director of Policy and Planning with responsibility for all areas of strategy and risk. As Gold commander he has been responsible for our planning and response to the pandemic alongside partners within the Local Resilience Forum.

DCFO Apter, who will retire later this month, lives on the Isle of Wight with his wife Andrea and their three children Lucia, Nina and Elliot.

He is a trustee of two fire service charities, Fire Aid and the Firefighters Trust, and a former Chair of the World and UK Rescue Organisations of which he is a patron.