Steve Owen-Hughes has been appointed Chief Fire Officer for Surrey Fire and Rescue Service.
Mr Owen-Hughes joined the service in 2010 as Assistant Chief Fire Officer and has been acting in the role of chief for the past few months.
He said: “It’s a great honour to have been appointed to serve Surrey as Chief Fire Officer. I’m proud to be leading the transformation of our service to ensure it’s fit for the future with a real focus on preventing emergencies happening in the first place.
“We know that prevention work saves lives, especially vulnerable people, which is why we’ve put forward proposals for a big increase in that activity, including carrying out four times as many prevention visits each year. The consultation on our plans runs until Sunday and I’d urge everyone with an interest to contribute before it closes.”
Denise Turner-Stewart, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Fire and Resilience, said: “I’d like to sincerely congratulate Steve on his permanent appointment as Chief Fire Officer and I am looking forward to continuing to work with him as we build on work that’s already well underway.
“Steve powerfully advocates a transformation of our service which is not based on any savings but rather looks at what the Surrey public needs and also answers the shortfalls in the service that have been raised by inspectors. I would encourage our residents to find out more about our plans for the future of the service and take part in the Making Surrey Safer consultation.”
Mr Owen-Hughes, whose full title is Director of Community Protection and Emergencies (Chief Fire Officer), has served in a number of fire and rescue services and also had a distinguished military career before joining Surrey.
He held various roles in the Army and with the Ministry of Defence, serving on front lines including Afghanistan, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, Iraq, Africa and the former Yugoslavia.
During this time he was also involved in humanitarian work and founded the charity Operation Florian to help bring fire-fighting equipment and skills to areas around the world, particularly war-torn regions, where people are most vulnerable and at highest risk, such as refugees and returnees.
He holds an MBE, the Fire Service Cross and has received a number of commendations.