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Media Release

​Firefighting leaders of today and tomorrow celebrated
Saturday 8 September 2018 – 8:00 AM

Two firefighting brigades united by their goal of helping and protecting their isolated Pilbara community have taken out the title of the State’s top firefighting team.  

The 2018 Firefighting Award winners were announced at the inaugural Fire and Emergency Services Awards Ceremony held in Perth last night.

Tom Price Bush Fire Brigade and Tom Price Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service (VFRS) were recognised with the Team Achievement Award for their collaborative relationship and unified response to emergencies affecting their community, including a bushfire that threatened the town in October 2017.

Callum O’Connell from Tom Price Emergency Services Cadet Corp was also recognised for his work in promoting fire safety messages to local primary school children and devising a new road safety initiative along Tom Price-Paraburdoo Road.

Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM said the award recipients had a shared vision about the future of firefighting in Western Australia.

“These awards highlight the great achievements and initiatives of firefighters and their brigades across the State, and we’re incredibly fortunate to have people of such a high calibre working together protecting our State,” Commissioner Klemm said.

“Our firefighting leaders of today know the importance of championing their youth, to not only benefit and grow their brigades, but their local communities as well.

“The award recipients are investing in the future by imparting their knowledge and providing support to the next generation of WA firefighters,” he said.

Support and leadership were strong themes of the other award recipients including Murray Lang Bushfire Fire Service of WA Award winner Bradley Warr of Dwellingup Bush Fire Brigade who has dedicated himself to his community’s local bushfire cadet program.

WA Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service Award winner Gyula Bogar of Boyup Brook VFRS has spent over 45 years putting the brigade, its members and his community’s safety first. 

DFES Lower South West District Officer Phil Brandett was awarded the WA Career Fire and Rescue Service Award for his professionalism and dedication to volunteers, local governments and fellow staff, regularly going beyond expectations to resolve issues and take care of volunteer firefighters in one of the State’s highest bushfire risk areas.

WA Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services Award recipient Chris Unstead from Bullsbrook VFES was commended for his strong incident management expertise that has helped spare the local community from any significant impacts from fire in recent years.

The Western Australian Firefighting Awards 2018 recipients are:

WA Youth Achievement Award

Callum O’Connell, Tom Price Bush Fire Brigade and Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service

Callum signed up as an Emergency Services Cadet in 2014 and has developed into a well-respected mentor for his peers. He is the youngest member to join the Tom Price VFRS and BFB and always endeavours to help others in need. This young volunteer firefighter has been involved in mitigation activities as well as fire safety preparedness at local primary schools. With his fellow cadets, Callum has helped devise a new road safety initiative to encourage road users to exercise more caution following a spate of fatalities and serious crashes along Tom Price- Paraburdoo Road.

WA Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service Award 

Gyula Bogar, Boyup Brook Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service 

Serving Boyup Brook VFRS for over 45 years, Gyula has strived to protect his community and ensure he has a happy and engaged volunteer crew available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The brigade remains his number one priority and the town are proud to have a volunteer firefighting brigade operating at such a high and professional level. 

Murray Lang Bush Fire Service of WA Award

Bradley Warr, Dwellingup Bush Fire Brigade 

Training and mentoring the emergency services responders of tomorrow has been a passion of Bradley’s for many years. The Dwellingup father has helped to turn around his local BFB and provided a focus for youth in the area. Despite having very limited free time, Bradley is always there for the Dwellingup Bushfire Cadets, whether it’s organising regular bootcamps, to arranging weekends away to learn and share knowledge and skills with other firefighters. His dedication to the future of firefighting means there are clear succession plans in place for the benefit of the community and brigade. 

WA Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services Award

Chris Unstead, Bullsbrook Volunteer Fire and Emergency Service 

Chris’ adaptability in all situations and hazards has helped him gain the respect of his fellow brigade members and VFES community. An experienced firefighter, his excellent incident management and planning skills have helped his brigade ensure their local community has been spared from any significant impacts from bushfire in recent years. Chris and his crew also helped show a lighter side to WA volunteer firefighters by participating in the emergency services Lip Sync Challenge which has been watched over 50,000 times. 

Team Achievement Award

Tom Price Bush Fire Brigade and Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service 

In the town of Tom Price, members of the BFB and VFRS have been united by their desire to protect their community. The brigades, each with different skill sets, work side by side and where required share resources, both familiarised in each other’s appliances and stations. During October 2017 when fire threatened the Tom Price townsite, the brigades worked closely together to support each other and defend the town and its residents. 

WA Career Fire and Rescue Service Award

Phil Brandrett, DFES District Officer, Lower South West

Highly respected for his professionalism and dedication to volunteers, local governments and fellow staff, Phil regularly goes above and beyond to support those who help keep the community safe. He often sacrifices his own time to support volunteers in excess of what is typically expected. His mentorship of staff and volunteers means he’s helping champion the future of firefighting in the Lower South West. 

For more information about the Firefighting Awards visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au/awards 


Media Contact: 

DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9395 9543


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