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Media Release

Saving lives focus of fire and emergency services conference
Saturday 3 November 2012 – 10:00 AM

Hundreds of fire and emergency services personnel, volunteers and staff from around the State have converged on Perth this weekend for this year’s WA Fire and Emergency Services Conference. 
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Wayne Gregson said the conference is an important event for representatives from the State’s different emergency services to build on their practical and theoretical skills.
“The conference provides a unique opportunity for all members of our fire and emergency services who protect the WA community to come together to enhance their training and operational preparedness in readiness for the season ahead,” he said.
“This year there is a focus on practical teachings with several live demonstrations that showcase the latest techniques in road crash rescue, the management of a light aircraft rescue and Disaster Victim Identification with WA Police.”
Commissioner Gregson said the conference theme Share. Learn. Prepare. – coming together to protect our community provided an important forum to promote the safety, training and welfare of WA’s 32,000 emergency services volunteers and career staff.
“This conference is all about presenting our frontline services with advances in specialised training to better support their needs during an emergency incident,” he said.


A key feature of the conference is the State’s Firefighting Awards, which recognise exceptional WA firefighters for their efforts in going above and beyond the call of duty.
Commissioner Gregson said that both career and volunteer firefighters responded to nearly 29,000 incidents during the last financial year and all their efforts were worthy of praise.
“These brave men and women stand ready to protect the lives and property of all Western Australians and they are prepared to risk their own safety in the process,” he said.
“We owe all of our firefighters a huge debt of gratitude for the important work they do in protecting WA communities and these awards are one way of drawing attention to their vital role and extending our thanks for a job well done.”
Further information on the 2012 Firefighting Awards winners: 
Career Fire and Rescue Service of Western Australia Award
Geoffrey O’Day - Osborne Park Fire Station
Geoffrey has demonstrated extraordinary commitment and devotion to duty beyond normal expectations in the role of Fire and Emergency Coordinator for Rottnest Island. He has successfully delivered a new level of service and increased operational efficiency and effectiveness. This was partly achieved by assisting volunteers on the island and helping with training, often in his  own personal time.
Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service of Western Australia Award
Christopher and Maxine O’Connell - Tom Price Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service
Both Christopher and Maxine, who are respectively the Captain and Secretary, recognised the need for a fire safety program following a tragic caravan fire in their region. They have spent close to three years working with Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to produce an education package that incorporates books with artwork from local schools, and puppets depicting native Australian animals. The program has been published and is being distributed to volunteer fire brigades in the Pilbara.
Murray Lang Bush Fire Service of Western Australia Award
Peter Summers - Dongara, Irwin North and Irwin South Bush Fire Service Brigades
Peter has spent more than four decades serving Bush Fire Brigades, with the past 12 years as Shire of Irwin Chief Bush Fire Control Officer. He has shown exceptional devotion to duty, attends every possible bushfire incident and works endless hours on behalf of the community. He has also instigated numerous local fire safety awareness and prevention programs.

Youth Achievement Award – Joint Winners
Joshua Lourenco - Bassendean Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service
Josh accompanied an experienced Bush Fire Brigade firefighter to the Margaret River bushfires and his outstanding response belied his youthful age. It was his first bushfire and he used his training to great effect, showing incredible maturity and courage, and helping to save several homes.
Nathan Ramage - South Coogee Bush Fire Brigade
Nathan has demonstrated a high level of commitment as a volunteer firefighter with the South Coogee Bush Fire Brigade. He was with fire crews who travelled to the Margaret River bushfires at Prevelly and worked tirelessly in difficult conditions, helping to save many homes. Nathan’s community spirit has also extended to participating in a local winter storm recovery team.
Media Contact: DFES Media and Public Affairs on 9225 5955.





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