East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service held its annual awards ceremony in Hastings on 18 th October 2019, where staff, volunteers and members of the public gathered with a number of local dignitaries to celebrate community safety, long service, excellence and life-saving actions.
It was a proud night for the recipients, their family and friends who attended this prestigious awards event.
This year, there were a variety of awards including recognition for staff and their commitment to the Service, many who have served 20 years, or more, with an exemplary award for 40 years of Service. The new British Fire Services Association Commendation Medal was awarded in East Sussex for the first time, to recognise deeds of outstanding service. Acknowledgement was also given in the form of East Sussex Fire Authority Excellence Award, Volunteer of the Year Award and the Wendy Hartley-Clark Innovation Award.
This year’s Community Safety Award went to a member of the public who runs the Kids Count Project, in Hailsham. This community project uses a Facebook site to reach into the community, which distributes much needed items to families in desperate need.
The Chief Fire Officer’s Special Award Certificate, for the significant survival of a member of the public, this year went to a child, who performed CPR and summoned assistance for emergency help.
Other awards of note were the Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation Certificate, which was awarded for two separate incidents for significant contribution to the survival, or rescue, of people in extreme danger. The first was presented to a member of the public who contributed at a rescue in the river Ouse and the second was presented to an operational crew who medically assisted an employee with a critical life saving intervention
Recognition was also given to the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, United Kingdom Rescue Organisation (UKRO) medal-winning team, who came overall second in the national extrication challenge in 2018 in Cardiff, behind the World Champions, and who, as a result, qualified to take part in this years World Championships for the first time.
Chief Fire Officer, Dawn Whittaker, said: “ I am always proud of the work our staff and volunteers do in the community to protect and save lives, but also to raise awareness and educate people about safety.
“Our annual awards evening is a special event in our annual calendar to recognise some of this fantastic work. Many of the recipients of commendations and awards are nominated by their colleagues and it's always a challenge for the awards panel to choose which of the nominations receive awards but it’s also an evening to recognise the contributions of others, be they members of the public, companies, other partners...that have also contributed to community safety.
“It’s also important that we include family/friends of recipients to celebrate too and I know there will have been many a proud partner, or child, on Friday evening. It brings a smile to everyone’s face when you see a small child beaming when their parent goes to the stage to receive an award...memories were made.”