NSW Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott and Fire & Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins have officially recognised the courage and commitment of firefighters and members of the public who risked their lives to help others during major emergencies in NSW and overseas.
Australian Humanitarian Overseas Service Medals have been presented to 68 FRNSW firefighters in recognition of their disaster relief efforts in the wake of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake and as logistical experts during the Australian response to the 2009 Samoan tsunami.
Commissioner’s Commendations for Courageous Action and Meritorious Service were presented to 61 firefighters and workers who risked their lives and helped coordinate the response to the October 2013 bushfires. Four firefighters and four members of the community received commendations for their actions at other major fires and emergencies.
Mr Elliott praised the efforts of all those involved in the emergency response and said their courage, resilience, and professionalism helped save lives.
“These awards are an opportunity to formally acknowledge the actions of those who went above and beyond to help others and I commend them for their actions,” Mr Elliott said.
Commissioner Mullins said the distinguished Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal was awarded to 64 specialist rescue firefighters who were part of the Urban Search and Rescue deployment following the devastating Christchurch earthquake in 2011.
Four other firefighters also received Humanitarian Overseas Service Medals for their work during the Australian response to the Samoan tsunami in 2009 where they supported an Australian medical team.
“Firefighters who bravely battled extreme fire conditions and risked their lives to save others during the October 2013 bushfires were also recognised. Many of these firefighters put themselves at great peril to rescue stranded residents,” Commissioner Mullins said.
The courage of firefighters and members of the public were also recognised for their actions at several other fires and emergencies, including a house fire at Mount Druitt in October 2014 and a motorcycle accident at Mangrove Mountain in July 2014.
“The firefighters we have acknowledged are a credit to themselves, the community and the fire and rescue service. Their actions were exemplary and I am very proud to have them under my command,” Commissioner Mullins said.