London Fire Brigade

Senior management team

Dany Cotton QFSM, Commissioner

Dany Cotton is London Fire Brigade’s first female Commissioner and is one of the most senior fire officers in Europe.

She joined the Brigade at  the age of 18 and was just one of 30 female firefighters in London. Within 12 years, Dany became the UK’s  first female station officer and from there, steadily rose through the ranks to become London fire Commissioner in 2017.

Throughout her career, Dany has attended some London’s most significant incidents. Just three months into the job, she attended the Clapham Junction rail disaster where 33 people died and she has also led crews at Cutty Sark fire in 2007 and 40 fire engine blaze near the Olympic Stadium on the evening of London 2012 closing ceremony.

Dany has received a number of accolades including being named as Public Servant of the Year in 2002, becoming the first woman to be awarded the Queen’s Fire Service medal in January 2004 and winning the Most Influential Woman in Fire award in 2015. National Chair of Women in the Fire Service, Strategic Advisor to the Local Government Association and national Counter Terrorism (CT) lead

As well as heading an emergency service that attends around 100,000 varied incidents each year, Dany is also in charge of the Brigade’s strive to prevent fires and injuries through its vital fire safety work. Educating children, visiting vulnerable people in their home and spreading fire safety messages on social media are just some of the ways Dany’s workforce try to keep people safe in the capital. Since becoming Commissioner on 1 January 2017, Dany has led the Brigade through the Grenfell Tower fire and was at the scene monitoring the Brigade’s response to the tragedy. During that time the Brigade has also responded to three terrorist incidents and has had its work showcased on hit ITV documentary Inside London Fire Brigade.


Tom George, Director of Operations

Tom joined the fire service at the age of 18. After eight years as a firefighter at Ealing fire station he moved to Acton, then on to Wembley, Feltham, Heathrow, and Kentish Town.

He has held a number of different roles in the 30 years since he joined London Fire Brigade, including Borough Commander for Barnet, Head of Community Safety, Deputy Assistant Commissioner for the south-west area, and Assistant Commissioner for Operational Response.

Tom has attended several significant incidents including the 7/7 London bombings, the 2008 Camden Market fire and the Buncefield oil refinery fire.


Steve Apter, Director of Safety and Assurance

Steve began his career in 1990 as a retained firefighter for the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service before going full-time a year later.

Steve climbed the ranks to become Chief Fire Officer before moving to Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service to be the Director of Community Safety and Resilience.

After an eight month secondment to East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service as Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Steve returned to Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service before later joining London Fire Brigade in December 2016.


Sue Budden, Director of Finance and Contractual Services

Sue began her career at Coopers and Lybrand (now Price Waterhouse Coopers), in Norwich, as a public sector auditor at the start of their development of public sector work.

After moving to London, Sue worked in local government while completing her CIPFA qualification - working for Westminster, Southwark, and Hackney councils.

In 2000, Sue took up senior positions at the Office of Fair Trading and then the Cabinet Office, heading up both finance departments, before progressing to Director of Finance and Corporate Services at the British Transport Police (BTP). Sue left BTP to join the Brigade as Head of Finance in 2006.