GREATER Manchester Fire and Rescue Service’s (GMFRS) new Chief Fire Officer is looking to hit the ground running after taking up the role last week.
Jim Wallace brings a wealth of experience to the position and was Chief Executive and Accountable Officer for Northern Ireland Fire Service He has also previously worked in the Police and Fire Reform Team in the Scottish Government, creating a new unified national Fire and Rescue Service and as Assistant Chief Officer in Hertfordshire.
Jim said: “I’m delighted to have taken up the role. This is an ideal opportunity to get in and reshape the organisation and I want to capitalise on the loyalty and commitment of staff. It was not a difficult decision and I have been excited to get in and hit the ground running.
“It has been immediately clear to me there is a great wealth of invaluable experience and talent at the disposal of the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and I want to build on this moving forward.
“The resilience of the organisation and of the staff here gives us a platform to take the service forward with the capability that I know exists. I know the service has endured some tough times but in my experience fire and rescue services still have a ‘can do’ attitude. What I need to be able to do is capitalise on that and give the service the right direction.”
Jim wants to look at how the service can improve whilst maintaining the excellent first class frontline response to incidents the service strives towards.
He will be working closely with Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, who is also Fire Commissioner, and Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, Beverley Hughes. He has joined as the GMFRS Programme for Change continues to review the way the service operates and looks at creating a modern fire service that gets the best out of people and always puts the frontline first.
He said: “The Programme for Change has given us a clear focus of the changing demands the service faces and sets a road map for the future. I welcome the challenge the Mayor and Deputy Mayor will provide and look forward to working with them.
“Anyone who has an interest in the Fire and Rescue Service can have a view and we welcome feedback from anyone inside and outside the organisation and we welcome that openness and transparency.”
Jim lives at home with his wife Kate and his passion away from the fire service is flying. He holds a full pilot’s licence and enjoys spending as much time as possible in the air. He is also a lifelong supporter of Carlisle United Football Club.
Deputy Mayor Bev Hughes, said: “We are all delighted to welcome Jim into his new role. He joins us at a time of much change in GMFRS and I am looking forward to working with him.
“We are moving towards a frontline first approach to firefighting and want our fire service to best the best it can be. Over the coming weeks and months, Jim, myself, the Mayor and GMCA senior leaders will all be working hard with colleagues across GMFRS to develop a fire service everyone in Greater Manchester is proud of.”