AFTER more than three decades working in Canberra’s emergency services, ACT Rural Fire Service (ACTRFS) chief officer Joe Murphy will hang up his firefighters’ helmet at the end of the bushfire season in April.
Mr Murphy’s 33 year career with the ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) started by chance when he signed up as a SES volunteer with the south unit (Woden) in 1987. He will retire on April 10.
His experience includes more than 21 years with ACT Fire & Rescue (ACTF&R), and this morning (February 20), Police Minister Mick Gentleman and ESA commissioner Georgeina Whelan thanked Mr Murphy for his outstanding service to the Canberra community.
“Joe Murphy has led the ACTRFS for the last four years and made an outstanding contribution to lifting the capability and professional standards of the service,” Mr Gentleman says.
“The critical role played by ACTRFS in keeping Canberrans safe during the devastating Orroral Valley Fires recently is a testimony to Joe’s leadership.
“During the Orroral Valley Fires, he was frequently out on the fire ground checking on the well-being of his crew and leading community meetings.
“Joe has been instrumental in ACTRFS progress over the last four years in recruitment, membership, training, inclusion and accessibility.
“He will be remembered for many firsts including creating the original ACTF&R Education program that was introduced to ACT schools, which earned him a community protection medal.”
In the lead up to his retirement Mr Murphy says he’s looking forward to spend more time with his partner and two adult children.
“The ESA is a fantastic organisation that I have had the privilege to work with. I would like to thank the many dedicated volunteers and staff who work all year to keep our community safe,” Mr Murphy says.
“This organisation has been a huge part of my life and I hope to stay in touch with the many friends I have made over the years.
An acting chief officer will be appointed in the interim until a recruitment process is completed to permanently fill the role.