New fire chief appointed in South Yorkshire says top job is an "honour"

South Yorkshire’s new Chief Fire Officer says it is an ‘honour’ to have landed the top job.
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South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority has appointed Chris Kirby to take over from current CFO Alex Johnson in May.

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Mr Kirby has over 23 years of experience in the fire service and formerly served as South Yorkshire's Deputy Chief Fire Officer after landing that role in 2020.

Chris Kirby has been appointed as South Yorkshire's new Chief Fire OfficerChris Kirby has been appointed as South Yorkshire's new Chief Fire Officer
Chris Kirby has been appointed as South Yorkshire's new Chief Fire Officer
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He had previously served with the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, where he joined as a firefighter in 1998.

He said: “I am extremely proud to be offered the role of Chief Fire Officer in South Yorkshire. It is an honour to provide a first-class service to the local community and to work alongside so many fantastic people.”

Mr Kirby, born in Barnsley, was put through his paces in the selection process, which involved a written application, an interview with members of the Fire Authority and a presentation to members of a staff stakeholder panel.

Fire Authority Chairman, Councillor Tony Damms, said: “The Fire Authority’s appointments panel was greatly impressed by Chris’ obvious passion for improving the service for all those it serves and employs.

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“His people centred approach, vision for change and determination to get things done all make him an outstanding candidate to lead South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue in the future.”

Mr Kirby will take over the role in May from the current Chief Fire Officer Alex Johnson, following her retirement.

Ms Johnson first joined South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue in 2017, and has been Chief Fire Officer since the pandemic hit in 2020.

Coun Damms said: “Fire Authority members would like to thank Alex for the leadership she has shown in the role of Chief Fire Officer; particularly in leading the organisation through the pandemic and all of the challenges which that has brought and for her leadership during the 2019 floods. We wish her all the best in her future endeavours.”

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