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Chief Fire Officer for Northern Ireland replaced by interim Dale Ashford

By Jenny Kirkham

Published 13/05/2015

New Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service Interim Chief Fire Officer Dale Ashford.
New Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service Interim Chief Fire Officer Dale Ashford.

Chief Fire Officer Chris Kerr, has retired from his position following 30 years of operational service across Northern Ireland.

Officer Kerr was replaced on Tuesday by Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service's Interim Chief Fire Officer, Dale Ashford QFSM.

Mr Chris Kerr joined the then Northern Ireland Fire Brigade in 1985.  He started his career as a Firefighter at Central Fire Station and has served in all the Belfast Fire Stations throughout his career.

He was appointed to Area Commander for Eastern Area Command, in March 2003 and in 2004 assumed additional responsibility for specialist rescue operations which includes the Specialist Rescue Team, Hazardous Materials, Marine Firefighting and Flooding operations and represents NIFRS nationally on specialist operations and flooding forums. He was awarded the Queens Fire Service Medal in the 2010 New Years Honours list. Mr. Kerr was appointed Deputy Chief Fire Officer in 2011, which was closely, followed his appointment as Interim Chief Fire Officer in 2012.

Chief Fire Officer, Dale has 28 years' service protecting the community, joining the then Northern Ireland Fire Brigade as a Firefighter in 1987. Dale has held a number of operational posts across the organisation serving in many of the fire stations in Northern Ireland.  He has also served as head of health and safety within the organisation and in 2009; he took up the role as Area Commander for Training and Development at NIFRS Training Centre.

Speaking following his appointment, new Interim Chief Fire Officer Dale Ashford said: “It is a privilege to accept this position as Interim Chief Fire Officer of Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service and I would like to acknowledge the tremendous service of my predecessor Mr Chris Kerr, who has led the organisation through challenging times and was a fantastic ambassador for Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service."

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service Chief Executive Mr Jim Wallace added: “On behalf of Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, I want to congratulate Dale Ashford on his appointment to Interim Chief Fire Officer. Dale brings a wealth of experience from various operational roles where he has served with distinction.

“Mr Chris Kerr leaves the organisation following 30 years of impeccable service, where he has dealt with extremely testing circumstances. Chris has had Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service at the forefront of his responsibilities and I thank him for what has been a magnificent career."

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