The dedication of fire and emergency services career and volunteer personnel was recognised at the annual award ceremonies held during the 2015 WA Fire and Emergency Services Conference, taking place Friday 18 to Sunday 20 September.
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Wayne Gregson presented the awards and commended winners and finalists for their committed service to the community.
“The variety of skills and dedication that exist within the fire and emergency services means that it is incredibly difficult to stand out from this honourable crowd,” Commissioner Gregson said.
“These recipients have been outstanding in playing their part to help keep our communities safe.”
Station Officer Martin Cable from Kalgoorlie Fire and Rescue Service was awarded the WA Career Fire and Rescue Service Award for volunteering his spare time to the Juvenile and Family Fire Awareness (JAFFA) Program, and visiting sporting groups and schools to educate about fire safety.
Terri Kowal, a 21 year veteran of the Bunbury Bush Fire Brigade, was presented with the Murray Lang Bush Fire Service of WA award for her efforts leading a crew 500 kilometres across the State to assist with a number of major bushfires last summer. Terri has also instigated a number of fundraising and community engagement ventures.
Frazer McGregor and Sandra Lymbery from Coral Bay were awarded the Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services Award for Excellence for their selfless service during Tropical Cyclone Olwyn, where they worked gruelling shifts over six consecutive days to relocate more than 80 residents to safety.
The WA Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service Award was presented to Deirdre Marchese for her dedication and commitment to the Kambalda Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service. As well as being secretary of her brigade, Deidre is also a dedicated Peer Support Officer, an SES volunteer and a great motivator and role model, especially to other women interested in volunteering.
Youth Achievement Award winner Matthew Holland received recognition for his knowledge and positive attitude towards training and skills development. Beginning his volunteering career at 13, Matt is now captain of the Witchcliffe Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service and is highly regarded by his firefighting colleagues.
Watch the Firefighting Awards video here.
State Emergency Service (SES) Awards
The recipient of the 2015 Peter Keillor Award was Bayswater SES rescue section leader Jane Campbell, who has served her community through the SES for a decade. Despite her busy job as an emergency room nurse, Jane volunteers an average of 15 hours a week to the SES and is committed to providing high quality training to her unit and to other volunteers throughout the State.
The 2015 Youth Achievement Award was presented to Mt Barker SES Local Manager Kirsten Beidatsch. A relatively new member of the service, Kirsten has dedicated her spare hours to implementing innovative ideas that have boosted her unit’s membership and increased its community profile.
The Manjimup SES Unit was recognised with the Team Achievement Award for the group’s exceptional dedication and commitment in responding to the Northcliffe bushfire. Manjimup SES Unit members performed a wide range of roles and functions, collectively donating more than 1,200 hours to the multi-agency response effort.
Watch the SES Awards video here.
Volunteer Marine Rescue Service (VMRS) Awards
Cadet Adam Farmer of the Mandurah Water Rescue Group was recognised for his outstanding assistance to the local community with the Youth Achievement Award. Adam worked diligently to revive an electric shock victim while awaiting the arrival of paramedics. His calmness, quick-thinking and first-aid training ensured that the victim received immediate medical attention and was able to make a full recovery.
South Coast Zone Commander and Walpole Sea Search and Rescue Group member Alex Williams was presented with the award for Outstanding Individual Contribution by award patron, Her Excellency the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AO Governor of Western Australia. Alex has been instrumental in facilitating combined group training exercises to ensure best practice and preparedness. He continues to demonstrate exemplary leadership and dedication, providing support and guidance to the VMRS across Australia.
The Albany Sea Rescue Squad was awarded for Outstanding Group Operations for their team efforts responding to a number of search and rescue events in a short period of time, demonstrating their dedication to preparedness and response. Their commitment to the community is seen in their strong advocacy for marine safety, professionalism in emergency situations and willingness to provide knowledge and expertise on local conditions.
The Kalbarri Sea Search and Rescue Group was the recipient of the Department of Transport Award for Excellence in Marine Safety. The group were recognised for their commitment to improving community safety on the water, by identifying unclear markers on the approach to the Murchison River inlet at Kalbarri. The marker upgrade will increase the safety of vessels navigating their way into and out of the inlet, potentially saving lives.
Watch the VMRS Awards video here.