Lisburn man Dale Ashford has become the new interim Chief Fire Officer following the retirement of Chris Kerr.
Dale, a former Assistant Chief Fire Officer, said that it was a ‘privilege’ to accept the position.
Dale has had 28 years’ service protecting the community, joining the then Northern Ireland Fire Brigade as a Firefighter in 1987. He has held a number of operational posts across the organisation, serving in many of the fire stations across Northern Ireland.
He has 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.
Dale was promoted to the role of Assistant Chief Fire Officer in February 2012, with responsibility for Road Safety, Emergency Response and Health and Safety.
An active member of the Chief Fire Officer’s Association, he is also a member of the Irish Fire Investigation Association.
Speaking following his appointment, he said: “It is a privilege to accept this position as Interim Chief Fire Officer of Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, an organisation that saves lives and protects our community and an organisation that I am personally extremely proud of.
“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 and Rescue Service. Chris leaves the organisation in a very strong position going forward and I hope that I can build on his achievements.
“Undoubtedly there are many challenges ahead but I am confident that we will face them together to ensure the people of Northern Ireland remain safe and proud of their fire and rescue service.”
Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Chief Executive Mr Jim Wallace added: “On behalf of Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, I want to congratulate Dale Ashford on his appointment to Interim Chief Fire Officer. Dale’s credentials and track record throughout his career within the organisation speak for themselves. 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 and Rescue Service at the forefront of his responsibilities and I thank him for what has been a magnificent career.
“Dale is extremely well regarded across many areas of public life in Northern Ireland and I have no doubt he will continue to represent Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service with professionalism during his role as Interim Chief Fire Officer.”