EAST Staffordshire’s most senior fire officer has spoken of his sadness after announcing his retirement following 30 years of service
Mick Archer is stepping down from his role as area commander exactly three decades since he began his career in October 1982, saying ‘the time was right’.
Mr Archer, 51, has held the role of area commander, covering Burton, Tamworth and Lichfield, since 2000, and has been stationed at Burton for the past seven years.
He was previously based there as a fledgling firefighter during the mid-1980s.
He looks back on his time at the service with genuine fondness and is proud of the way the service has progressed under his watch.
He said: “My 30 years in Staffordshire have been absolutely fantastic. I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed going in to work every day.
“I felt it was the right time. I’ve been here for 30 years, and there’s a whole world out there. I feel it is right for me and the service that I move on. There are a lot of young people coming through and this gives them an opportunity.
“I’m really sad. There are a lot of great people in the fire service who really believe in what they are doing, but now I am looking forward to the future.”
Mr Archer says the proudest part of his time in the service has come over the last decade in which time he feels the service has made great strides.
He said: “I think that over the last 10 or 11 years being area commander, overseeing successful command teams and the way we’ve changed has been the highest point.
“Now it’s about preventing rather than just putting out fires. In the last 10 years deaths and injuries have reduced by nearly 60 per cent, and that has been fantastic to have been a part of.
“It’s not just fires — we want to prevent all incidents occurring, like traffic collisions.
We don’t want to go to them.
“Things like providing free home fire risk checks and making people safe is a really important job.”
Proud at where the service has arrived during his tenure, Mr Archer believes he leaves it in the best possible shape for his successor.
He added: “I think it’s onwards and upwards. I believe Staffordshire is one of the best services in the country.
“These are challenging times but I think the Staffordshire Fire Service is a fantastic place and will deal with the changes that will come its way and go from strength to strength.”
Chief Fire Officer Peter Dartford paid tribute to the outgoing area commander.
He said: “Mick has had an exemplary career in which he had made a significant contribution to improving lives and wellbeing of communities across Staffordshire.
He has been responsible for introducing some innovative and creative ways of working that have had a really positive impact.”