About Me


Hi, where should I start?

I've been researching Firefighter safety for many years.  I've been trying to understand the things that influence their 'moment of choice'.  My doctoral research has a sharp focus on the critical decision making of FIREFIGHTERS. Particularly when working in hazardous conditions without oversight or supervision.  

Please let me emphasise that when I use the expression FIREFIGHTERS I mean just that. From the original, and now famous research of Gary Klein to the majority of contemporary research, the expression 'firefighter' has been used generically.  Whilst this generic use may be convenient for psychologists it is grossly inaccurate and misleading. Yes, supervisors, managers and commanders may be part of the firefighting community.  I know, I used to be one.  And yes, they will be influential in firefighting activity, and they will have learned their firefighting craft  when they too were firefighters. But now, what is rare  in their current role is for them to put their head in the mouth of the beast.

Over 1,000 Firefighters are injured every year during operational activity.  Rarely do we get to know about the circumstances that result in them being injured.  This means we don't know if knowledge of the firefighters injury that occurred in April last year could prevent a similar injury occurring in April next year.

So, here's me........

I am a very proud father of two fine young men; and an even prouder 'grampdad'; granddad 'B', and 'popkins' to their daughters.  I am a life long supporter of Aston Villa which doesn't necessarily make me a bad person.  

But my CV looks something like this.......... 

I retired from the West Midlands Fire Service in October 2013 after 42 years operational service.  I am passionate, not philosophical about firefighter safety.  Currently, I'm undertaking an examination of the relationship between firefighter safety behaviour and firefighter injury for fulfilment of a PhD and occasionally, I also find myself 'consulting' on many aspects of firefighter safety.  Challenging contemporary thought on operational risk assessment I have written extensively on subjects relating to strategies for reduction in firefighter injury. Apart from my thesis, I am currently writing two text/learner resource books on firefighter injury and a Personal Safety Assessment tool called the STAR model.  I am also lecturing in Emergency Planning and Operational Risk Management to 2nd and 3rd year undergraduates at Wolverhampton University. 

Fire Service Experience(s)

I joined the Fire Service in 1971 serving in the inner-city areas of Birmingham at all ranks/roles up to Area Manager. Which means I learned my craft wearing a black cork helmet, gardening gloves I bought myself and yellow PVC leggings that melted whenever I came into contact with fire!

Roles I have held include Head of Press & Public Relations, Head of Fire Research & Investigation and Head of Operations & Risk Management.   I also had the honour of a large operational command of 450 devoted and committed professionals.  I have also gained experience in specialisms such as Advanced (Officer) Training, Performance & Planning and for several years before I retired, Operational Intelligence.


Throughout my 42 years service I have been involved with a number of national projects which include the development of the CACFOA strategic response to the ‘Demographic Time Bomb’, the National Arson Control Strategy; Building Disaster Assessment Group (High Rise Firefighting); Fire Control Project; Operational Assessment of Service Delivery; and more recently  the review of guidance to Fire Authorities and publication of the new Health, Safety and Welfare Framework for the Operational Environment.  At the same time this project was coming to completion I was seconded to the Hampshire Police Investigation into the deaths of two firefighters in Southampton.

Involvement in international projects includes Community Safety Education and Command & Control research at various times in Phoenix, Miami, Indiana, and New York in the USA , and Poitiers France. 

I also assisted Ministry of Defence Police with a report to Courts Martial for an investigation into Command and Control decision making at a fatal incident in one of their overseas establishments.

Areas of Expertise

Management of operational risk at four levels of intervention: strategic, systemic, dynamic and personal; including the impact and review of Incident Command practice.

Business process and post-event investigation, audit and analysis, post-event review, debrief, reflective experiential learning, organisational review and management of Operational Intelligence.

High Rise firefighting, in particular the adoption of safe systems of work.


Institution of Fire Engineers Scholarship:

Leadership Development in a Uniformed Environment.

Post Graduate Diploma in Management Studies:

      a) Comparison of Business Models of Micro Breweries in Belgium and the UK (yep, really).

      b) 10 Step process for Arson Reduction in the United Kingdom

MSc in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management:

“Risk Assessment at the Sharp End” – 

An investigation into the application of Dynamic Risk Assessment by first responders in English Fire and Rescue Services.

Fire Service Research and Training Trust:

A review and analysis of Operational Injuries in English Fire and Rescue Services.

National Health & Safety Guidance Review:

Generic research into human and cultural factors affecting firefighter safety.

PhD research:

Human Factors analysis of Firefighter injury sustained during emergency response operations: implications for error management and injury reduction in English Fire and Rescue Services.

In 2013 I was awarded the Queens Fire Service Medal.  The citation concludes:

  "......and indescribably powerful contribution to the safety of firefighters not only in the West Midlands but across the country".

I am honoured to be able to continue contributing but can only do so with your support.