Oxfordshire’s most senior firefighter has announced his retirement after 32 years with the county’s fire and rescue service.
David Etheridge, the county’s chief fire officer and president of the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA), will retire from his role on March 31 next year, to coincide with his final day as president of CFOA.
Mr Etheridge first joined Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service as an on-call firefighter in 1985.
He transferred into the full-time service in 1987 and took on a variety of specialist and managerial roles before being appointed as the county’s chief fire officer in June 2010.
He is also a member of Oxfordshire County Council’s management team, with responsibility for countywide emergency planning, road safety, business continuity, trading standards and community safety.
In 2015 Mr Etheridge was awarded an OBE for services to the community.
He said: “It has been my privilege to serve in Oxfordshire my entire career. I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say I have thoroughly enjoyed the last 32 years. To develop from being an on-call firefighter from Abingdon to a chief fire officer shows what an amazing organisation the county council is, one that really does invest in its people.
“Over the last 15 years I have also really enjoyed working right across the council but in particular with trading standards, emergency planning and the gypsies and travellers unit, helping to shape services to make a bigger difference to the public and businesses of Oxfordshire. I feel humbled and privileged to have worked with and met so many dedicated people whose commitment to public service, their role and sense of duty seems limitless and inspirational.”
Oxfordshire County Council deputy leader Rodney Rose, said: “The contribution Dave has made to Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service has been enormous.
“I will miss him personally and would like to thank him for his commitment and hard work to make Oxfordshire a safer place to live, work and visit. I wish him all the best for the future and a happy retirement.”
Deputy chief fire officer, Simon Furlong, will take up Mr Etheridge’s role from April 1.