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Media Release

WA emergency responders recognised for overseas service
Tuesday 20 October 2015 – 4:00 PM

​Six Western Australian emergency services personnel have today been recognised for their actions abroad.

The Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) technicians from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) were presented with the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal at a ceremony at Government House.

The medal recognises Australians who perform humanitarian work in dangerous overseas situations, with the recipients joining just four other Western Australians ever bestowed this honour.

The award acknowledges their outstanding contribution following the 2011 earthquake that struck Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 185 people and causing widespread destruction.

Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Wayne Gregson praised the efforts of the recipients as they received their medals.

“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 DFES USAR team was deployed to Christchurch as part of a national taskforce joining search and rescue teams from New Zealand, USA, UK, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan.

In the aftermath of the disaster, the 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.

The medals were presented by Emergency Services Minister Joe Francis at DFES’ annual National Medal and Emergency Services Diligent Services Medal ceremony that recognises long serving career members of the Fire and Emergency Services.


Media Contact: DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9225 5955


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