Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) has welcomed a new Chief Fire Officer following the departure of Jim Wallace earlier this year.
Wigan-born Dave Russel moved to GMFRS on September 7 2020, from neighbouring Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, where he held the role of Deputy Chief Fire Officer and worked for 29 years.
The 48-year old father-of-two said: “It is an honour and a privilege to lead such a prominent fire and rescue service and I am totally committed to contributing to the further development and improvement of GMFRS.
“I firmly believe understanding people precedes leading them and I intend to visit every fire station and every department to listen, observe and learn – to truly get under the Service’s skin, find out what makes it tick and to understand the challenges and opportunities we face across all parts of the organisation.”
Since September, despite the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 restrictions, Dave has been getting to know the Service by visiting crews across the city-region.
He said: “It is certainly a challenge to join a new organisation during a global pandemic, but in my first few weeks I have been struck by the commitment, professionalism and pride in the Service and I’d like to thank those who have taken the time to share their views with me.
“GMFRS staff have also been supporting the city-region’s response to COVID-19 since the Spring, including more recently the Greater Manchester COVID Contacts Support Service to support test and trace activity, while dealing with our own challenges as a result of the pandemic.”
The Service has recently launched its new Vision, Mission and Values and has been going through a period of organisational transformation. This has also included the development of a leadership, culture and people plan; the launch of the GMFRS equality, diversity and inclusivity strategy and firefighter attraction strategy; the introduction of the NFCC leadership framework; and the launch of two Best Companies staff surveys.
Dave said: “Our vision to be a modern, flexible and resilient fire and rescue service will remain, as will our mission to save lives, protect communities and work together. I am unequivocal in my view that the primary role of GMFRS is to deliver an emergency response service to the people of Greater Manchester – central to which is firefighter and public safety.
“The services that we currently provide to the public will need to evolve and adapt to an ever-evolving and rapidly changing Greater Manchester. We are here to provide effective prevention, protection and response, and to enable this to happen we need strong structures and supporting corporate functions that are geared towards our mission.”