Fire officer retires after keeping communities across England safe for over three decades

A Station Manager who has served communities both locally and nationally is hanging his boots up after 32 years of service.

The Chichester floods and Whaley bridge dam collapse are just some of the notable incidents Marvin Smith has attended over the years.

Back in 1990 Marvin stepped through the doors as a retained firefighter at East Wittering. He then joined the service as a wholetime firefighter two years later and has served the communities of Shoreham, Chichester and Horley. He finishes his career as Station Manager for the service’s Technical Rescue Unit and a Gatwick Liaison Officer.

Marvin is also a National Flood Rescue Tactical Advisor, a role which evolved from the Lewes floods in 2000, and has attended national emergencies such as the River Thames flooding in Berkshire, an expected east coast flood inundation in Norfolk and the Cockermouth flooding.

More recently he has joined the National Fire Chiefs Council’s Air Transportation Group, looking at risks and training requirements for small and large airfields. Marvin has also been part of the wider group contribution for Virgin Orbit’s ‘LauncherOne’ rocket which is due to take off from UK soil later this year. His passion for aircraft safety stems from his role as a pilot, a qualification he acquired in a personal capacity six years ago.

Reflecting on his career, Marvin said: “When everyone is running away from a situation, you’re running towards it and that has always the most important thing for me – being there for someone at their time of need and helping to put it right.

“A career highlight for me was leading the service’s training centre and running five wholetime recruits courses. I loved working with people who had little to no experience of the fire service and seeing them go through the journey to become firefighters. All those people are now great colleagues, and that’s the biggest thing I’ll miss about the fire service – the people.”

Chief Fire Officer, Sabrina Cohen-Hatton said: “Marvin is a hugely influential person within the fire and rescue sector and is held in high regard by everyone that has worked with him. He has pushed the boundaries and driven policy change at a national level, and for that we are all safer in our communities.

“Marvin embodies determination and has led an extremely varied and dutiful career. I wish him all the very best in his retirement, wherever that may take him.”