Chief Fire Officer for Tyne and Wear Headquarters of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service A new Chief Fire Officer, named Tom Capeling, has been selected for the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service. Tom, aged 48 has worked in the service since 1988. Whilst he had initially served in the Royal Navy as a mechanic, he was drawn to the fire and rescue services and so decided to change careers. He has served with a number of crews, inc luding those at Pilgrim Street in Newcastle, Grindon Fire Station, and Fulwell Station, located in Sunderland. In 2007 he was promoted to Corporate Support’s Area Manager, and dealt with contingencies, maintenance of fleets and procurements, amongst other issues.
Tom is currently focussing on improving the service team’s responsiveness to fires and increasing the safety of the community as a whole. Because of his work there has been a significant reduction in the amount of house fires in the area over the last 12 months. Tom’s efforts have been praised by Cllr Bob Heron, the Chairman of the Fire Authority in Tyne and Wear. Tom will be replacing Ian Bathgate, who worked for four years as the Chief Fire Officer. Iain is now retiring after working for more than 34 years. Tom has stated that he is confident that the fire station crew will continue to be one of the best in the country, despite expected budget cuts over the next five years. Tom resides in Sunderland, with his wife and two daughters. Over the last three years Tom has served in the area of Community Safety, as the Assistant Chief Fire Officer. His responsibilities in this role include the implementation of training, estate and asset management, as well as the overseeing of the frontline emergency response service. He has also partaken in the development of the new Hannay Associates Complaints Service radio network, known as Firelink.