Chief Fire Officer Dave Curry has announced he will be retiring at the end of the year.
When he steps down from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) he will have been in the top job for three years - after serving as Deputy Chief for the previous 11 years.
During his time in charge Dave has established closer relationships with partner agencies across Hampshire and the south east.
He has also been key in helping services achieve greater collaboration with police and ambulance colleagues.
During his time at the helm HFRS formed a successful strategic partnership with the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, which saw Dave becoming Chief for both services.He was also behind a modernisation process that has instigated some of the biggest changes to frontline services in HFRS’s history, using innovative techniques and harnessing new technology to provide better value for taxpayers.
Under his leadership the service has enhanced its reputation and nationally he has worked to drive up standards across the fire service.
Dave, who has been an operational firefighter for more than 30 years, said: “I am immensely proud and honoured to have been Chief of what I believe is one of the best fire and rescue service in the world.
“I am continually impressed by the professionalism and dedication that our firefighters show every day and grateful for the trust that the people of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight place in us.
“HFRS is at the forefront of modern firefighting with many pioneering technologies and strategies from our SAVE (Scan, Attack, Ventilate, Enter and Extinguish) approach to the groundbreaking work we are doing in the field of ill health prevention.
“I am sure my successor will bring with them a vast array of skills and a breadth of experience, and I know they will be taking charge of an exceptional team dedicated to the safety of our communities.
“I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard during my time with HFRS and have helped shape it into the service it is today.”
Other roles Dave has held include being Assistant Chief Fire Officer of Surrey Fire and Rescue Service and director of CFOA (Chief Fire Officers' Association).
During the past year Dave has lead a national team looking at creating a professional standards body for the UK fire and rescue service.
Cllr Chris Carter, who became Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority chairman in 2015, said: “Dave’s inspirational leadership has helped HFRS position itself as one of the best and most innovative services in the country.
“I would like to offer the Chief heartfelt thanks for his hard work and dedication both on behalf of the authority and the people of Hampshire.
“He will be greatly missed for his impact and vision. He has successfully steered the service through a time when the role of the firefighter is undergoing great change nationally.
“Thanks to his efforts the county is now recognised as a beacon of blue light collaboration and the service is so respected that its expertise is sought by national and international authorities.”
The process to find candidates with the skills and experience to be the next Chief Fire Officer of HFRS will soon be underway.