The next Chief Fire Officer of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) has spoken of his pride after being awarded a King’s Fire Service Medal.
Peter Heath has been named in His Majesty the King’s first Birthday Honours List, which recognises those who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to public service.
The dedicated public servant has been Deputy Chief Fire Officer at TWFRS since 2020 and in May it was announced that he will replace Chris Lowther as Chief Fire Officer when he retires in October.
Peter, who holds the position of Chief Fire Officer Designate until taking on the role permanently, first joined the fire service in 1992 and has served communities for an incredible 31 years.
Today (Saturday) he said: “I feel very humbled and honoured to have been awarded the Kings Fire Service Medal (KFSM).
“The support of my family has enabled me to commit myself over the last 30 plus years to doing my best and for them as much as myself I feel very grateful for the recognition.”
Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther said: “Peter is an extremely deserving recipient of the King’s Fire Service Medal (KFSM).
“In my time in the Service I can’t remember working with a more exceptional fire officer and I want to offer my congratulations, and thanks, on behalf of everyone at TWFRS.”
Cllr Phil Tye, Chairperson of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority, has also paid tribute to Peter and his commitment to public service.
He said: “Peter has been a huge support to me in my time as Chairperson of the Fire Authority and I have witnessed first hand the transformational impact he has had on the Service.
“Not many individuals have served for 31 years in the fire and rescue service and Peter’s ongoing commitment to keeping communities safe here in Tyne and Wear fills me with immense pride.”
Peter joined the Fire Service in 1992 when he began a career as a firefighter with the Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade in Scotland.
He served at several fire stations across Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders as Firefighter, Leading Firefighter, Sub Officer and Station Officer.
Peter also held roles as a Fire Safety Enforcement Officer, training Officer, in Operational Planning as well as a range of managerial and leadership roles including a two-year secondment to the Scottish Fire Services College as a Group Manager in the learning development team.
In 2013, following the creation of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Peter was Programme Manager and led work on Operational Response and Resilience to ensure readiness for the commencement of the new service on day one.
Peter joined TWFRS as Deputy Chief Fire Officer in 2020, a position he has served for the last three years before being appointed as Chief Fire Officer in May.
He continues to serve as Deputy Chief Fire Officer, while also holding the position of Chief Fire Officer Designate, until the retirement of Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther in October 2023.