Eric Robson retired from the British Fire Service in 2006 after serving for 34 years. He is a Graduate of the Institution of Fire Engineers, has a Post Graduate Diploma in Civil Emergency Management, he has the NEBOSH General Certificate which he passed with credit and has a NVQ Level 4 in Management.
He served at all substantive ranks up to senior officer and was seconded to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, as an Assistant Inspector of Fire Services on the post 9/11 New Dimension project.
He has a substantial background in training, operations and disaster/crisis management and has taken charge of many multi pump, multi-agency incidents throughout his career. He has also been in charge of ‘White Powder’ incidents and has been the Fire Service Gold Command liaison officer at one of the Queens visits and at the European Finance Ministers conference.
He was an instructor at the Fire Service College (FSC) in the School of Operations. There he taught the principals of Command and Control at a variety of incidents, to all officer levels utilizing the unique fire simulation structures at the College. Whilst there as an instructor, he researched all aspects of USAR and introduced it as an additional aspect of FSC training. He was part of a group of three who developed a BSc Degree course in International Disaster Engineering and Management. This was a joint venture between the FSC and Coventry University. He taught aspects of Search and Rescue Management on the course for 3 years. Following the success of this course, the World Health Authority (WHO) asked if a search management module could be designed for one of their courses in Crisis Management. He was part of the same team of three who then designed a module for WHO which was then incorporated into their course. He taught on this course for three years in Geneva and Stockholm, to WHO managers from around the world, as an Associate of the FSC.
As the Brigade Training Officer in his Brigade, he served on the Vocational Qualifications Review Group (VQRG). This working group was set up to review the Fire Service NVQ’s and make recommendations to the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA). The group developed the improved NVQ’s, which in turn led to the development of the Integrated Personal Development System (IPDS). He also introduced the NVQ system into his own Brigade.
He was a founder member of the UK Fire Service Search and Rescue Team (UKFSSART) and was a Field Commander within the team. As such he was deployed to Montserrat at the behest of the UK Foreign Office, following the Volcano eruption there, to ascertain and write a concise report on the short medium and long term requirements, of the UK Government, to ensure the continual safety and welfare of the remaining population of the island. As a Field Commander for UKFSSART he was heavily involved in the operational and training development at national level, and sat on the coordinating group of UKFSSART, chairing working groups, and was part of the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) sub group set up under the New Dimension Project (ND).
Following 9/11, he was appointed as the regional Planning Officer for Wales where he was responsible for identifying potential weaknesses and introducing new systems into the region to combat the greater threat from terrorism. During this time he was then asked to join the central team of the New Dimension (ND) Project with a primary role of heading up the Vehicles Team. He was tasked to project manage the design and build of the Incident Response Units (IRU’s) which were designed to respond to Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear incidents (CBRN) that required the mass decontamination of members of the public. He then led the same team on the second phase to design and build multi role vehicles based on a ‘hook lift’ modular system for deploying Urban Search and Rescue modules and vehicles. He was also involved in; determining response protocols for CBRN and Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) incidents, developing planning assumptions for CBRN, High Volume Pumping and USAR, determining training requirements, designing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPS) for a variety of incident types and new equipment and specialist equipment evaluation and procurement.
After retiring from the Fire Service he accepted a consultancy contract with a specialist company who provide communications and integration services to most Police and Ambulance Services in the UK. He assisted them in gaining contracts within the UK Fire and Rescue Services including Command and Control vehicles and Detection, Identification and Monitoring vehicles (DIM) as part of the continuing ND project. He also project managed several large contracts, including survey work being carried out as part of the FIRELINK project, installation work on a fleet of Police vehicles, including covert installations and installation work for a Police force for three prototype ‘Future Police Cars’.
He also worked on a contract in Abu Dhabi as a consultant and provided training to ADCO (Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations Ltd.) personnel at various levels of competency.
He lived for 9 years in Turkey and voluntarily gave advice on USAR to the Turkish NGO USAR group AKUT for 2 years.