The Fire Fighters Charity has announced the shortlists for its 2015 Spirit of Fire Firefighter of the Year award and Adult Hero award.
Among the 10 awards to be presented at a gala event on 2 October at Park Plaza Westminster, Firefighter of the Year is given to a serving member of the fire and rescue service who has gone beyond the call of duty.
Meanwhile, Adult Hero is given to a member of the public over the age of 18 who has shown great bravery when confronted with a fire and rescue situation and/or carried out a courageous act of humanity.
For a full list of nominees and criteria for this year’s awards, visit www.spiritoffireawards.co.uk
The Spirit of Fire Awards is a key event in the fire and rescue calendar, recognising bravery within the fire community and dedication to The Fire Fighters Charity, the UK’s leading provider of life-enhancing services for serving and retired fire service personnel and their families.
Nominees for firefighter of the year are:
• Brenan Morgan (Cambridgeshire) - an ‘inspirational, transformative and talented’ operational leader. Brenan is an ultra-marathon runner and keen supporter of the Charity, continually striving to help others push themselves, whatever role or rank they hold. While firefighters are often nominated for this award for bravery situations, this nomination recognises that to have a successful fire service on the frontline, people like Brenan must be there to support and lead crews when they are not responding to 999 calls.
• Duncan Muirhead & Matthew Blanchard (Bedfordshire) - Firefighters from Bedford White Watch were undertaking reconnaissance and water rescue training on the river Great Ouse, Bedford, during a period of prolonged rainfall, high water levels and fast flowing conditions. As the pair passed under Prebend Street Bridge, Duncan saw a member of the public on the wrong side of the bridge barrier, looking like he might jump. As the rescue boat turned, the man jumped into the fast-flowing water. Duncan swiftly manoeuvred the boat closer and Matthew immediately entered the water and swam towards him; the casualty had already gone under the surface. He managed to locate the man, grab hold of his ankle and pull him back to the surface. Matthew swam to the side of the river with the casualty in tow, monitored by Duncan at all times, and managed to pull both himself and the casualty out of the water, where further life-saving assistance could be offered.
• Gregory Magill (Bedfordshire) – FF Magill was heading home when he noticed a fight between four males. One had been seriously assaulted and was lying on the ground. He was unconscious, had lacerations to his head and a broken nose. Gregory enlisted the help of a bystander to help him roll the man onto his side, allowing him to clear and maintain the airway, enabling the casualty’s breathing to return to normal. Without his intervention and control, the casualty’s condition could have quickly deteriorated to a critical level.
• Joe Thornton & Richard Jordan (Humberside) - Immingham Fire Station’s Green Watch was mobilised to an incident where a man was threatening to set fire to himself in his shed. On arrival, there was a strong smell of petrol and smoke issuing from the shed door. Richard applied gas cooling techniques and Joe opened the door – as he did so, the man in the shed threw an open can of petrol at them and slammed the door shut. Without hesitation, Joe forced the door open whilst Richard used a cone spray to extinguish and Joe then removed the man from the shed and pinned him to the floor.
• Steven Fox (Hampshire) - Steve has a true passion for helping others – he delivered and resuscitated a 16 week premature baby when off duty, worked with local manufacturers to design a door entry kit to make rescues easier and safer for firefighters, worked with vulnerable Nepalese members of the community to inform them about the fire service and volunteered with the UK’s Emergency Response Team to the Philippines Typhoon Haiyan.
Meanwhile, the nominees for Adult Hero are:
• Alan Rendall (London) - After spotting smoke near his house, he discovered a fire in the conservatory of a neighbour’s property and saw his friend lying on the floor of his conservatory. By this time the fire had rapidly spread to the first floor and roof of the property. Alan entered the property and removed his neighbour, who had suffered severe burns to his body, into the garden, suffering smoke inhalation in the process.
• Chris Johnston and Lucas Cooper (Cheshire) - Chris and Lucas saved a 94-year-old woman from a serious kitchen fire. Chris works as a gas engineer for Plus Dane Housing and was driving past. He banged on the front door of the house to raise the alarm but got no answer. Chris, joined by neighbour Lucas, opened the back door and they were faced by a wall of smoke and flames. They could hear resident Mrs Millichap calling out but could not see her due to the thick, black, low-lying smoke. It was far too dangerous to enter the property, but Lucas and Chris saw Mrs Millichap lying close to the patio doors. They smashed the glass using a concrete flower pot and Chris entered the property to rescue her, saving her life.
• Gareth Salmon (London) - When Gareth became aware of a fire near his residence, he entered the communal area of the flat block where he believed the fire to be and alerted the other residents. He was informed that an elderly resident was probably still in their flat. Forced to retreat, he entered another way, gaining access before an explosion blew him out of the door. He once again re-entered the property, located the occupant and removed her to a place of safety.
• Nelson Smith (Cambridgeshire) - After spotting black smoke billowing from a caravan on his site, he ran over and rescued grandmother Charlotte Price from her burning home. He went to get a fire extinguisher but by the time he returned, the caravan was engulfed in flames. Nelson then pulled two other caravans to safety away from the fire in which Charlotte’s daughter and granddaughter were inside.
For a full list of nominees and criteria for this year’s awards, visit www.spiritoffireawards.co.uk.