A special ceremony at the Government House Ballroom on Tuesday 20 October was a joint celebration, recognising six Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) technicians for their humanitarian actions abroad and acknowledging long serving fire and emergency services personnel.
The ceremony, held by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES), saw the USAR technicians presented with the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal (HOSM). The medals recognise Australians who perform humanitarian work in dangerous situations overseas.
The award acknowledges their exceptional contribution following the 2011 earthquake that struck Christchurch in New Zealand, killing 185 people and causing widespread destruction.
In the aftermath of the disaster, USAR technicians assessed debris, rescued trapped casualties and deconstructed buildings to give access to search and rescue teams. They worked under treacherous and hazardous conditions to protect lives and property.
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Wayne Gregson praised the efforts of the HOSM recipients, who join only four other Western Australians ever bestowed this honour.
"When our nearest neighbours called for help, these six brave and highly skilled Western Australians responded,” Commissioner Gregson said.
"It is a commendable act to serve your own community and it takes tremendous courage and dedication to commit oneself to helping those in need overseas.
"The Western Australian community is fortunate to have such dedicated emergency services personnel ready to respond to emergencies both at home and abroad.”
The ceremony also honoured career personnel and DFES staff, who were recognised with National Medals and Clasps, and Emergency Services Diligent Services Medals. An outstanding 190 recipients were eligible to receive their medals and clasps this year, which are conferred in honour of their longstanding and diligent service to the community.
A further 15 personnel, who retired after a combined 445 years of committed service, were also acknowledged with certificates and plaques for their invaluable contribution.
The medals were presented by Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis, who expressed his thanks to the recipients on behalf of the WA community.
“While some actively serve on the operational frontline as firefighters, others are involved behind the scenes in management or administrative support roles,” Minister Francis said.
“Those being honoured provide an essential and lifesaving service to the WA community.”
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are a medal recipient and would like a copy of the images from the ceremony.