Firefighters’ fierce efforts celebrated at annual awards
Station Officer Stuart Parks walked over 1000 kilometres to promote mental health awareness in emergency services, and today joined a group of Western Australian firefighters who were recognised for their outstanding contribution to protecting the community.
The 2016 Firefighter Awards ceremony took place this morning at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, recognising volunteer and career firefighters as far north as Onslow through to Gibson in the Great Southern.
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Wayne Gregson presented the awards and commended the recipients’ dedication to serving and protecting their communities.
“The emergency services were placed under immense pressure last bushfire season, responding to a number of large-scale and complex fires under challenging conditions,” Commissioner Gregson said.
“Firefighters responded to these incidents with a high level of professionalism and skills, and are to be commended for their outstanding efforts to protect life and properties.
“The recipients acknowledged today have gone above and beyond their call of duty and are exemplary role models for their fellow brigade members and the wider community.”
Midland Fire and Rescue Service Station Officer Stuart Parks was awarded the WA Career Fire and Rescue Service Award for his outstanding efforts in raising awareness of mental health issues in the emergency services, following the tragic suicide of a close firefighting colleague.
The Murray Lang Bush Fire Service of WA award was presented to Gibson Bush Fire Brigade Captain Blake Halford for his outstanding efforts during the past bushfire season, where he spent over 200 hours on the fire ground responding to several major incidents.
The Bremer Bay Volunteer Emergency Services Unit was acknowledged with the Team Achievement Award for their proactive and innovative approach to fire mitigation and preparedness in the Shire of Jerramungup.
Onslow Volunteer Emergency Services Unit Firefighter Jack Jones received the WA Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services award for his outstanding leadership skills during Tropical Cyclone Stan that impacted the Pilbara in January 2016.
The WA Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service award was presented to Mullewa Fire and Rescue Service Captain Anthony Crudeli for his outstanding efforts to maintain brigade numbers despite the community’s declining population.
Youth Achievement Award winner Struan Graham, who has been part of the Wanneroo Central Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade since he was 16, was recognised for his fulfilment of multiple roles within the brigade, including organising community events and training new recruits.
The Western Australian Firefighter Awards for 2016:
WA Career Fire and Rescue Service Award
Stuart Parks, Midland Career Fire and Rescue Service
Following the tragic suicide of a close firefighting colleague, Stuart completed a gruelling seven week, 1000 kilometres trek along the Bibbulmun Track to increase awareness of mental health in emergency services and to raise money for Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute. Stuart also dedicates a large amount of his time to training his dog, Ivy with the aim for her to become part of the Urban Search and Rescue unit.
Murray Lang Bush Fire Service of WA Award
Blake Halford, Gibson Bush Fire Brigade
Blake has been a member of the Gibson Bush Fire Brigade for over 15 years, being a driving force in coordinating the expansion and refurbishment of the fire station. Blake was also recognised for his outstanding efforts last bushfire season, where he spent over 200 hours on the fireground, including at the Esperance bushfire where he assisted evacuating people from rural properties around Scadden as the firefront bore down.
Team Achievement Award
Bremer Bay Volunteer Emergency Services Unit
The Bremer Bay Volunteer Emergency Services Unit has worked closely with the Shire of Jerramungup to undertake a review of fire mitigation and preparedness in high bushfire risk areas including Point Henry and adjacent reserves. This involved extensive engagement with the community and landowners, which in turn has increased awareness, knowledge and overall readiness for bushfires in their community.
WA Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services Award
Jack Jones, Onslow Volunteer Emergency Services Unit
Jack displayed outstanding leadership skills during the response to Tropical Cyclone Stan that impacted the Pilbara in January 2016. He was also recognised for his efforts to grow the brigade’s membership, ensuring they are highly trained and ready to respond.
WA Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service Award
Anthony Crudeli, Mullewa Fire and Rescue Service
In an area with a steadily declining population, Mullewa Fire and Rescue Service Captain Anthony Crudeli has maintained consistent brigade numbers and capability, ensuring that the training and welfare of brigade members are to the highest standard. He is also a driving force in organising social events for brigade members, allowing them time to regroup away from the pressures of the fire ground.
Youth Achievement Award
Struan Graham, Wanneroo Central Bush Fire Brigade
Since joining the Wanneroo Central Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade at 16, Struan has been an extremely active member, fulfilling multiple roles simultaneously within the brigade. He has also organised a number of community events including school visits and fire awareness presentations. Struan’s outstanding efforts has increased the efficient operation of the brigade and increased the community’s awareness of fire safety.
For more information about the Firefighting Awards visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au/awards