Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford is to be awarded an honorary degree by Staffordshire University.
"I have been extremely lucky to work with dedicated frontline firefighters in Staffordshire as well as an extremely strong team of support staff.....This accolade is a true reflection of the services they provide day in, day out, to help make the county as safe as possible."
Peter Dartford, Chief Fire Officer.
The highest ranking officer at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service will be commended for his unwavering commitment and his work to transform and modernise the operation.
Mr Dartford, who joined the fire service more than three decades ago, will officially be awarded the title of Honorary Doctor during a special ceremony at Trentham Estate on Monday, July 8.
He said: “It is an absolute privilege to be chosen to receive an honorary degree. I have been extremely lucky to work with dedicated frontline firefighters in Staffordshire as well as an extremely strong team of support staff, who calmly and professionally deal with a whole host of emergencies on a regular basis. They also continually seek to find ways to work with local people to reduce risk and prevent emergencies occurring in the first place. This accolade is a true reflection of the services they provide day in, day out to help make the county as safe as possible.”
Mr Dartford added that the fire and rescue service had faced challenges head on, adjusting to changes in order to protect the community.
He said: “The fire and rescue service has gone through major transformation both locally and nationally throughout my career – but, at all times, it has kept the safety of communities at its heart. One of the most important lessons the Service has learnt is that prevention is always better than cure.
“In Staffordshire, we have worked closely with the community and a range of partner organisations, delivering potentially life-saving messages to local people and providing safety measures in their homes, particularly those of older and more vulnerable people who are most at risk. We have also visited schools and youth groups in the area, engaging with and educating young people in order to provide positive influences to help them make the right choices as they grow towards adulthood.
“This work has brought about a significant decrease in the number of incidents we have been called to in the last few years. The number of emergencies we responded to last year was an all-time low of 9,291, reducing from 11,654 in 2011/12. Importantly, the number of recorded casualties from accidental dwelling fires was also the lowest ever recorded at 20, compared to 27 the previous year and 270 back in 1999.
“I am very much looking forward to facing future challenges head on and continuing to work hard to further reduce these statistics.”
A Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers and the Vice President Elect of the Chief Fire Officers’ Association, Mr Dartford also holds a Bachelor of Engineering Honours Degree in Fire Safety Engineering and a Masters Degree in Management.
He began his career at the age of 18, joining Hertfordshire Fire Brigade as a frontline firefighter in 1982.
Mr Dartford went on to become a Junior Officer in 1987 before receiving promotion to the position of Divisional Officer in 1994 when he led the Fire Safety Department.
He was then seconded to headquarters to head up a Fire Cover Review Project and later became Divisional Commander.
In 1999, Mr Dartford joined Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service as Senior Divisional Officer, later being made Divisional Commander for North Staffordshire.
Mr Dartford took on the role of Assistant Chief Fire Officer in 2001, became Deputy Chief Fire Officer in 2005 and was appointed as Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive in 2008.