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Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority appoints new Deputy and Assistant Chief Fire Officers

Lynsey McVay has been named as Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s first operational female Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO). She was appointed to the permanent position following an interview with Fire Authority members, after five months in the role on a temporary basis.

Last month, Peter Heath was promoted to Deputy Chief Fire Officer (DCFO) – marking a small but significant change to the leadership structure, with the role of DCFO replacing one of the two existing ACFO positions.

Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther commented: “This is a common senior management team structure across fire and rescue services nationally, and one that will offer various benefits for our Service. Introducing the role of DCFO creates a more robust and resilient command structure, whilst appointing internal candidates to both roles maintains stable leadership during a turbulent time for all public sector services.

In the short time that he’s been with us, Peter has become an extremely valuable member of our team. He has driven significant improvements across the Service as well as playing a key role in our response to Covid-19.”

DCFO Heath came to Tyne and Wear from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, where he was Deputy Assistant Chief Fire Officer and Head of Response and Resilience. He commented: “I’m delighted to be appointed to the role of Deputy Chief, particularly at a time when we are seeking to re-invest in our Service thanks to the savings and prudent budget management achieved over the last few years.

Of course, we still face many challenges – the role we are playing in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic is constantly evolving and there is still some uncertainty around our longer-term funding. However, I’m continually impressed by the commitment, resilience and innovation of my colleagues at all levels. I’m confident that together, we will not only drive forward community safety across Tyne and Wear but also continue to lead the way for the fire and rescue sector nationally.”

ACFO McVay joined TWFRS in 2018 as Area Manager for Community Safety. CFO Lowther commented: “Since joining us from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, Lynsey has proved herself as a very capable and forward-thinking leader and I’m extremely pleased that the Fire Authority’s Appointments Committee has recognised that.

As an executive member of the Women in the Fire Service network, she continually demonstrates her commitment to equality and inclusion not just in Tyne and Wear but across the fire and rescue sector. Lynsey is a fantastic role model.”

ACFO McVay said: “It’s a real privilege to be appointed as Tyne and Wear’s first female ACFO with an operational background and I’m extremely proud to have shown that becoming a firefighter can be just the beginning. The variety and progression opportunities available make a career in fire and rescue a great choice for everyone, regardless of their gender or ethnicity.

I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead.”