Merseyside’s fire chief ‘humbled’ to receive OBE from Prince Charles at Windsor

Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan spoke of his pride at his colleagues’ response to the Liverpool Women’s Hospital bombing last month.

Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan with his OBE.

The head of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service says he was “humbled” to receive an OBE from the Prince of Wales and hailed the quality of his firefighters.

Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan was awarded the commendation at a Windsor Castle ceremony on Wednesday for services to fire and rescue during the pandemic.

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After receiving his honour he said: "I’m absolutely thrilled.

"To be presented with the OBE from Prince Charles is an absolute highlight of my career with the fire and rescue service."

He said the pair discussed his work with the fire and rescue service during the pandemic, as well as work with children and young people through the Prince’s Trust.

He said: "We discussed how life-changing, how transformative it is for young people, and the fact that we’ve got many people who are now employed by the fire and rescue service who started on the Prince’s Trust team programme, and so he was thrilled with that outcome."

Pride over response to Liverpool Women’s Hospital terrorist attack

Mr Garrigan recalled being at the Remembrance Day service in Liverpool last month when a bomb exploded outside the city’s Women’s Hospital, and told of his pride at his officers’ response.

"We’ve done a fantastic job alongside our other emergency service responders - very quickly on scene, very effectively dealt with the incident and we’ve managed it effectively since," he said.

"I’m really proud of the efforts of my firefighters and my service more broadly."

A history of helping the fire and rescue service

Mr Garrigan, who lives in Wirral, joined Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service in 1990 and has overseen Merseyside achieve the lowest ever number of fire deaths on record.

In 2013, Mr Garrigan rebuilt the UK Fire Cadet movement, a national uniformed youth organisation delivered through all fire and rescue services across the UK.

Over 15,000 children are now fire cadets, with 1,000 volunteers supporting them.

After taking on the role of Chief Fire Officer in 201, Merseyside Fire and Rescue said he bucked the trend of cuts to the fire and rescue services nationally and found innovative ways to recruit new firefighters and increase the number of fire engines available, ensuring the continued safety of the people of Merseyside.

He also helped the service become the only one in the country to achieve two outstanding ratings from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services in 2018.

Mr Garrigan is also the National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) Lead for the Fire and Rescue Service.

Nationally, he provides strategic advice to the Government and has overseen a number of national incidents, including leading the Fire and Rescue Services response to COVID-19 as the National Fire Gold Commander.

He thanked his wife Michelle and said: “I am very humbled to receive this honour and recognise that it is in no small part down to the incredible people I work with - locally and nationally, people who go out of their way every day to protect the public.”