Lee Howell has been Chief Fire Officer (CFO) for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service since 2009. Prior to this, he was CFO and Director of Public Protection in Suffolk (2004).
Lee said: “It is an immense privilege to be the Chief Fire Officer for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service. What we do makes a real difference to the lives of so many people and we don’t take that responsibility lightly. I am very proud of our achievements but I also know that we have more that we need to do. We strive to continuously improve our prevention, protection, and response services and in doing so aim to become more effective and efficient in the process working through our people who are our greatest asset.”
Lee has held roles as the President of the Chief Fire Officers Association (2011-12) and Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor and Inspector for Wales (2013-15). In the latter role, he reviewed business continuity arrangements for the three fire services in Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government. He presented an efficiency review and managed the Government’s preparedness and response to a national industrial relations dispute.
For over 10 years Lee has been a trustee of the UK Firefighters Memorial Trust and is currently the Deputy Chairman for the Trust. Until 2019 Lee chaired the UK Arson Prevention Forum bringing agencies together who were interested in or had responsibility for arson. He also drafted arson-related ‘State of the Nation’ reports to Ministers and other key stakeholders. This raised awareness of deliberate firesetting and assisted agencies in reducing its effects. He established and chaired the Joint International Fire Board, working with the Department for International Trade to develop an International Fire Export ‘Offer’, supporting UK business to trade overseas.
In April 2019 Lee returned to Devon and Somerset after a 14-month secondment to Avon and Somerset Police. Here he led a Home Office police transformation scheme bid to use data and analytics thus reducing demand, threat, and harm within a multi-agency model.
In 2019, Lee was the first fire service officer to complete the strategic command course run by the College of Policing.
Lee is married with two children and lives in Devon. He enjoys rugby union and surfing.