Skip to main content

Strategic Leadership Team

The Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) is currently made up of nine principal officers and is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the organisation.

Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive - Chris Blacksell

Chris joined the Service as a Firefighter and was located at Central Fire Station in Hull in 1993, before progressing his career to become Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive in 2017.

As Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive he has ultimate accountability for all areas of the organisation, which he manages via the Senior Leadership Team structure.

Deputy Chief Executive - Phil Shillito

Phil joined the Service in July 2016 as Director of Public Safety, following a 28 year career at neighbouring South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue. 

Within his role as Deputy Chief Executive, Phil is responsible for Service Delivery, including Emergency Response and Public Safety, helping to keep our communities safe.


Executive Director of Service Support and S151 Officer - Kevin Wilson

Kevin Wilson is the Statutory Finance Officer responsible for the administration of the financial affairs of the Authority as required under the Local Government Act 1985. As Executive Director of Service Support he has direct responsibility for the Service’s Finance function along with overall responsibility for the areas managed by the Director of Service Support.

Prior to joining the Service in March 2007, Kevin had worked for Hull City Council, Newport City Council and Gwent County Council where he had undertaken a range of senior finance roles.

Director of Service Support - Steve Topham

Steve joined the Service in 1995 and his first posting was on Red Watch at Cromwell Road fire station in Grimsby, going on to undertake a variety of roles throughout the Service covering both operational, safety and support functions. 

In September 2015, Steve was promoted to Director of Service Support and he is responsible for support services such as the contract management of the joint workshops and joint estates, and fleet and equipment management, operational training, ICT, administration and health and safety, and environment, 

Director of Human Resources - Miriam Heppell

Miriam joined the Service as Director of Human Resources in October 2016 after 15 years in the local health sector and having also worked within HR in the private sector. Her most recent role was as Deputy Director of HR and Diversity at Humber NHS Foundation Trust. 

As Director of Human Resources at Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, Miriam is responsible for all areas of HR, organisational development and occupational health.

Director of Operational Training - Christine Wilson

Chief Superintendent Christine Wilson joined the Service as a temporary Director in March 2018 for a period of 12 months, reporting to Kevin Wilson, Executive Director of Service Support. 

She will take a role within the Corporate Management Team and will be responsible for Operational Training and overseeing Service Performance. Christine joins the Service, with 24 years experience at Humberside Police, which includes a year long secondment with the Counter Terrorism Command at London Metropolitan Police. Her most recent role at Humberside Police was serving the community as South bank Commander.   

Director of Public Safety - Paul McCourt

Paul joined Humberside Fire and Rescue Service in 1999 and started in his first posting on Red Watch at Immingham West fire station. 

He has served across the Humberside region going on to undertake a variety of roles in the Service including training, operations, safety and support functions. 

Paul was promoted to Director of Public Safety in November 2017 and he is responsible for community safety, business safety and road safety, looking at the prevention of fires and the protection of the public. 

Director of Emergency Response - Niall McKiniry

Niall joined the Service in 1995 and has served at various fire stations including Bridlington, East Hull, Scunthorpe and Hull Central in addition to a variety of specialist roles at Service Headquarters. 

Niall was promoted to Director of Emergency Response in April 2016 and he is responsible for the Service’s emergency response, the Service’s resilience planning, liaison with the region’s ports and ensuring the Service is able to effectively manage and respond to incidents involving hazardous materials.

Temporary Area Manager Project Delivery - Jason Kirby

Jason joined the Service on 6 March 1995 as an On-Call Firefighter in Barton-upon-Humber. He then went on to become a Full-time Firefighter in 17 April 2000 and has since progressed to his role now as Project Delivery Temporary Area Manager.