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London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson celebrates 30 years in the service

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson receiving a fire mark for his 30 years service
London Fire Commissioner, Ron Dobson, this week celebrating 30 years service with the London Fire Brigade

Ron was awarded with the Queen's Fire Service Medal in 2005 and received a fire mark for his 30 years service from the Chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, Councillor Brian Coleman AM FRSA.

London Fire Commissioner, Ron Dobson, is celebrating thirty years service with the London Fire Brigade, but as Chief Fire Officer of the UK's largest fire and rescue service, he has no plans to slow down.

Ron joined the Brigade in 1979 and rose through the ranks to become Commissioner in 2007 having previously been an Assistant Commissioner, responsible for the day to day running of the Brigade. Ron picks up the story; "I joined the Brigade because I wanted to be in an active job and help people who are at risk.  I was first posted to the red watch at Ealing fire station and went on to serve at Peckham, Brixton and our training centre."

He recalls his time in the Brigade's training school well: "Thirty years ago training was very different because the role of a firefighter was so different. In those days we wore cork helmets and yellow leggings and there was far less focus on fire prevention and the benefits of working with the public and passing on safety advice. The protective equipment we have today is the best in the world and there is no doubt that firefighters are better trained and prepared than ever. The trainees with us now will go on to specialise in advanced skills like urban search and rescue, using state of the art listening devices and fibre optic cameras."

Ron is commissioner of one the world's largest fire and rescue services

In recent years Ron has been at the forefront of the Brigade's preparations for responding to acts of terrorism and was the Brigade's Senior Operational Commander during the 7 July London bombings. Ron recalls; "I was in a meeting when the information was relayed to me that there had been a series of explosions on the underground. Initial reports suggested that electrical faults may have been responsible, but instinctively that felt wrong. "You can't be as closely involved in events such as those that occurred on 7 July and not be changed by them. I know that I am a different man today to the one I was before 7 July. What I can say is that in London we are now in a position where the Brigade is as well equipped to deal with any threat as it is possible to be and we are ready and flexible enough to meet any challenge."

Commentating on the changes to the service over 30 years, Ron said; "One of the things that firefighters should bemost proud of is that Londoners are far less likely to be hurt or killed in a fire than they were when I joined the service. Every fire death is one too many, but we are working harder than ever to meet London's communities, visiting their homes, schools and businesses to pass on safety advice. In the last year alone we've fitted thousands of free smoke alarms and these save many lives every year."

Ron was the Brigade's Senior Operational Commander during the
7 July London bombings

Ron, 50, is married with three children and lives in Sidcup, Kent. When the demands of his job permit, he enjoys playing golf and watching his beloved Millwall Football Club. He is currently in training for the Brigade's cross country run. Ron adds; "I would like to say I'm looking forward to this but this is going to be a really big challenge but I'm pleased to be involved in what is the biggest ever fund raising event for the Fire Fighters Charity."

As Commissioner of one the world's largest fire and rescue services, Ron oversees 7,000 staff. He said: "Seeing the hard work and dedication of our staff makes me so proud and I know we are making a difference in protecting the lives of Londoners. It is also great to see our workforce changing as London changes, and we are making great strides in capitalising on the talents of all Londoners with a workforce that truly reflects the community we serve."

Ron added: "It's great to celebrate 30 years service, but now is also an exciting time to look forward. Over the coming years we'll be modernising London's fire and rescue service and taking on major projects like the Olympic Games, a major fire station rebuilding programme and our work to protect the environment. Everything we do is about trying to make London a safer place, and that's what motivates me."

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