Yorkshire fire chief’s ‘baptism of water’

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has brought in its first head of corporate communications – as the area recovers from its worst flood in years.

Hannah Stoneman joined the brigade last week, as West Yorkshire was hit by ­severe floodwaters that have since resulted in six deaths. She will be leading the brigade’s media and PR unit, responsible for corporate comms across the 2,500-strong service.

Stoneman called the timing of her new role a ‘baptism of water,’ adding that she was immediately impressed by the reaction of the service’s officers and employees to the unprecedented flooding.

‘I chose one of the busiest weeks to join the service’ she said. ‘The brigade’s mobilising and communications centre received more than 200 calls from the public per hour, and the PR team played a key role in maintaining a 24-hour media line.’

Stoneman has previously held senior positions elsewhere in the regional public sector, including head of communications for Education Leeds and head of PR for Greater Manchester Police. 

As rebuilding efforts ­commence in West Yorkshire, Stoneman will con­centrate on raising the ­profile of the area’s rescue services. She reports to chief fire officer Phil Toase and is part of the service’s management team.

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