Denis McCann


Denis McCann is currently working for Brindle Consulting Ltd. as their consultant technical advisor and lead trainer. Denis is personally delivering our services to a number of prestige clients.


Joining Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service in 1981, and transferring to Avon Fire & Rescue Service in 2005 Denis has over 31 years experience in Fire & Rescue Services, he has operated as both an operational officer and a senior, strategic, manager, providing him with a wealth of experience to underpin his current activities.

Having operational and senior managerial experience allows Denis transferability of his skills to a range of contexts and applications.

Denis has a long history of designing competency based training systems, and introduced Interactive Computer Assesments to the UK Fire Service in 2001.

In 2003 Denis wrote the 20 full credit unit ‘Incident Command’ for the ‘FdSc Operations Management’ which received external scruitiny and validation from the Academic Standards Committee of University Central Lancashire (UCLan). The validation process required the full scrutiny of the Academic Standards Committee of the University of Central Lancashire, assisted by internal and external Academic Subject Specialists. These external specialists were totally independent, being a representative of the Institution of Fire Engineers, and a retired Assistant Fire Master.

Denis then worked to establish and manage the Web CT – Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) for the ‘FdSc Operations Management’ course, acting as University Staff.

Denis is a very experienced command trainer, and has experience in working with the military and other agencies to design establish and conduct command exercises such as ‘Diamond Commander’ for wide area flooding, and regularly worked with the Command & Staff Training Team from Warminster (CAST). He also designed and implemented business continuity exercises in Avon – Ex. Phoenix and Ex. Vanguard

Denis has advised the Combat Engineer School MOD on interactive computer assessments.

Denis has been active in Hydra – Minerva and VectorCommand circles for a number of years, and introduced VectorCommand Command Support System to Avon Fire & Rescue Service. and he developed a partnership with industry to deliver ground-breaking Incident ground Camera Systems

Denis worked with Ioda to develop a suite of Values Training programs for Avon Fire & Rescuie Service.

Functions and Roles – Avon Fire & Rescue Service

Station Manager Roles –

  • Station Manager
  • Command Simulation South West Command Development Centre (SWCDC)
  • Leadership Development Unit SWCDC
  • Special Projects – HQ Redevelopment Project

Group Manager Roles –

  • Head of Technical Fire Safety
  • Unitary Manager Bath and North East Somerset

Area Manager Roles –

  • Health & Safety
  • Head of Operational and Corporate Assurance
  • Head of Planning, Policy & Assurance

Incidents, Inquests & Investigations

2007 Walham Flooding – Bronze Incident Commander through the period of the first high tide, tasked with saving the electricity supply to 1/2 million homes, GCHQ and other critical infrastructure. Worked with Military, RNLI, Environment Agency, Police and Local Authority to successfully save the 400,000v Electrical Switching Station at Walham.

2008 Andrew Isa Ibrahim  – The first case in which the information about a British would-be terrorist planning an atrocity in the UK has come just from a Muslim community. Incident Liaison Officer duties supporting the incident remotely.

BOC Bristol 2010 – Explosion and fire involving acetylene production facility and 440 cylinders a protracted incident over 10 days – Incident Commander, Silver Commander, and Public Meetings.

UK Olympic Torch Relay 2011 – Fire Silver Commander for Day 5 of the Torch Relay during the time the relay was in the South West.

Silver Command 2009-11 – Royal Visits Bath, Significant Public Events Bath,  Civil unrest in Bristol Local Flooding BaNES.

Gold Command 2011 – direct experience of the Gold Command environment during civil unrest in Bristol.

UK Olympics Airborne Deployment 2011 – NILO, Team Leader and Medic with Helicopter team for remote deployments for South Wales and Dorset Venues. (See Page 88-96)

Inquest into the death of Mervyn Metcalfe 2011 -Tasked to support Dr Michael Powers QC and junior counsel Eleanor Hutchison for Avon Fire and Rescue Service. Provided support and specialist knowledge to the legal team, and gave technical evidence for clarification to the coroner. Mr Metcalfe died of carbon monoxide poisoning following a fire at his home where the rescue service had failed to gain entry. After the inquest Denis followed up from supporting the legal team to design the training program in support of the Rule 43 notice.

Fire Investigations – Denis is a qualified and experienced Fire investigator and has vast experience of investigating fires to determine the cause, and was the fire investigator for BOC Bristol.

Management Investigations – Denis has experience of conducting a wide range of management investigations relating to discipline, employment law and the National Fraud Initiative.

Education and Background


  • Fearns Secondary Modern School followed by 6th Form at Bacup & Rawtensall Grammar School.


  • Statutory Exams
  • Strategic ADC.
  • City & Guilds Foundation Certificate in Teaching, Training And Development
  • City & Guilds C24, D32 Skills Trainer Assessor
  • National Incident Liasion Officer – NILO
  • CBRN Silver (NILO)
  • Dyslexia Support Advisor (Fire Brigades Union)

Denis is committed to widening the understanding of dyslexia, he is a trained Dyslexia Support Advisor, and as a key driver for the wider understanding of dyslexia has delivered dyslexia awareness to a number of Fire & Rescue Services.

Denis is committed to pro bono work, and undertakes work for the Hydra Foundation.


Reports, Articles and Publications

Fire Magazine July 2001 – ‘Making the MOST of Skills Training’ relating to Competency Based Training Interactive Computer Assessment.

Fire Magazine Jan 2008 – ‘Operational Assurance The Camera Never Lies’ development of ground-breaking incident camera systems in partnership with industry.

2011 Bath & North East Somerset Council  – Water Safety Report following high profile deaths in the river Avon. Completed as part of an education and awareness campaign led by Denis to reduce deaths in the River Avon. The campaign halved the number of incidents and resulted in a RoSPA report being commissioned and direct interventions being undertaken to reduce river related deaths. “David Walker, RoSPA’s leisure safety manager, said Bath’s example could go a long way in helping other city’s tackle river safety.”

National Events and Lectures

2001 Washington Hall, Lancashire“Interactive Computer Assessment and Competency Based Training” to the Integrated Personal Development Working Group (IPDWG) for the UK Fire Service to inform the development of Integrated Personal Development System (IPDS).

2003 Hayling Island UK   “Competency Training of Incident Command – The Use Of Command Assements” delivered to the VectorCommand User Group

2006 UK Conference – Denis conceived and organised the “Critical Incidents – Command, Leadership or Management? UK Conference.  The speakers included Prof Jonathan Crego – National Director for Applied Learning Technologies;  Lt Col Peter Campbell – UK Army Command And Staff Trainer;  Dr Malcolm Cook, Senior Lecturer in Human Factors – University of Abertay;  Mr Kevin Arbuthnot Head of Command and Control Strategic Development – FSC;  Assistant Chief Constable Simon Parr – Hertfordshire Police;  Prof. Chris Johnson – Professor of Computing Science Glasgow University;  Dr Colin Selby Chartered Occupational Psychologist – UMIST, LBS, University of Surrey;  Mr Peter Power – Visor Consultants;  Dr Chris Baber – reader in interactive systems design University of Birmingham;  CFO Paul Hayden – H&W FRS;  Sue Evans – FRS National Assessmsent Unit;  Group Manager Phil Butler – London Fire Brigade.

Awards & Recognition

2006 Avon Fire & Rescue Service, Nomination – Top Team (7.2d Team)

2006 Avon Fire & Rescue Service, Nomination – Top Team (Risk Reduction Management Team)

2007 Avon Fire & Rescue Service, Award – Values Champion 2007 (Denis McCann)

2010 Avon Fire & Rescue Service, Nomination – Shortlisted  – Outstanding Contribution to Values, Equality & Diversity (Denis McCann).