'Brigade responding to host of new challenges'
AN experienced fire officer has been appointed to a new management role covering all Kirklees.
Steve Rhodes is the new district manager for fire and rescue services across the area.
He will oversee all stations and community fire safety teams in the area.
One of his main aims will be to strengthen ties with Kirklees Council and other local organisations.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is appointing a manager to cover each of the five metropolitan council districts in an attempt to co-ordinate and improve the way its works.
Acting Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling said: "We have had to respond to a host of new challenges in recent years and this, in turn, means we must change how we work and become more locally accountable.
"Our priorities have to be shared with the wider community and we have to become more pro-active in areas such as neighbourhood renewal."
Mr Pilling said the managers, appointed from existing staff, would be responsible for ensuring performance targets were met and carrying out the service's plan to reduce the risk of fire in homes and businesses.
The new structure will be reviewed after six months to make sure it is working effectively.
Mr Rhodes, 44, lives in Guiseley near Leeds, and has been a station manager in Stanningley and Leeds.
He has recently held senior positions in the Operations and Corporate Services directorates involving Kirklees.
He has an Institution of Fire Engineers' degree, a Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety and a Certificate in Fire Command and Control.
He is married to Clare and the couple have two daughters, Johanna and Tilly.
He said: "I have managed operational services in the Kirklees and Wakefield areas for the last 18 months. The new district structure will enable me to broaden this role.
"The changing aim of the fire and rescue service means it is no longer just involved in dealing with fires and road accidents.
"We now work with a variety of agencies to improve safety in the home, the well-being of young people and the elderly and others at risk."