Dave joined Merseyside Fire Brigade as a 16 year old cadet in 1964, serving at many Fire Stations in Liverpool from 1966 to 1982 both as a fire fighter and a fire officer.
In 1982, he began his association with Toxteth Fire Station which lasted for 10 years, returning to Toxteth as the Station Commander before retiring after 35 years service in 1999.
It was whilst serving at Toxteth after the well publicised riots in 1981, that Dave realised that some kind of scheme needed to be introduced in schools to reduce the number of fires where small children were being killed or seriously hurt.
After retiring, Dave set up Mersey Fire and Safety which provided fire training and fire risk assessments to a number of organisations. Now merged with R&R Safety Systems, Dave continues to work with large and small organisations providing a wealth of Fire Safety and Health and Safety services.
In 1985, Dave attended a fire which tragically claimed the life of an 18 month old girl. The fire had been started by her 3 year old brother.
After this event, Dave designed a programme for local schools where a firefighter would belong to a group of schools and would go in and educate the children about the dangers of matches, hoax calls and starting fires. To help deliver this message, Dave created Phil the Fire Engine.
Unfortunately, Dave’s enthusiasm wasn’t matched by his seniors at that time.
Undeterred, Dave wrote a number of stories about Phil attending fires, car crashes and all sorts of rescues - Phil the Fire Engine was born.
In 1995, Dave returned to Toxteth as station commander and had the authority to implement his scheme. In over two years small fires reduced by 75%, hoax calls by %70 and not one child was injured in a fire in Toxteth from 1995 to 1999.
“I hope young children everywhere enjoy Phil’s adventures and learn the danger of fire. Hopefully they will remember the safety message for the rest of their lives.”
Dave surveying the devastating after effects of a house fire, one of many during his 35 years service.