Firefighters honoured for exceptional community service
A volunteer instrumental in establishing a new bushfire brigade and recruiting more than 20 firefighters in just eight months has been recognised at the 2020 WA Firefighting Awards.
Northam Central Bush Fire Brigade Captain Murray McGregor received the Murray Lang Bush Fire Service Award last night, in recognition of his pivotal role in the volunteer brigade’s tremendous growth since its formation in October 2019.
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM said this year’s awards recipients had all made significant contributions to WA’s emergency services through their dedication to community safety.
“These awards recognise the achievements of Western Australia’s career and volunteer firefighters who have displayed exceptional leadership, dedication and empathy in their service to this State,” Commissioner Klemm said.
“A common theme among the winners was their commitment to strengthening community resilience, either by growing volunteer brigades or engaging the public through initiatives such as improving fire awareness in vulnerable or at-risk communities.
“Congratulations to the 2020 Firefighting Award winners - they deserve our gratitude for ensuring that Western Australia is a safer place to live, work and play.”
The WA Career Fire and Rescue Award went to Senior Firefighter Michael Hatfield, who used his Auslan skills to teach hearing-impaired children about fire safety.
Other winners included the Roleystone Volunteer Fire Brigade, who received the Team Achievement Award, Melanie McGoldrick with the WA Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services Award and Jordan McIntosh awarded the Youth Achievement Award.
The full list of winners from the Western Australian Firefighting Awards 2020:
Murray Lang Bush Fire Service Award
Murray McGregor, Northam Central Bush Fire Brigade
Bringing his 20-year experience as Captain of Irishtown Bushfire Brigade, Murray McGregor expanded the newly formed Northam Central Bushfire Brigade from three to 24 members in just eight months. Murray ensured the new brigade was visible to the community by conducting training exercises, which contributed to recruitment efforts. He also identified a leadership team and stepped up their training, enabling the brigade to support emergency call-outs. Under Murray’s leadership as captain, the brigade has become one of the most capable and well-resourced in the region.
WA Career Fire and Rescue Service Award
Michael Hatfield, Midland Fire Station
Senior Firefighter Michael Hatfield learned Auslan to communicate with people with hearing impairments. Through this journey, he realised this was a section of the community especially vulnerable during emergencies. Michael developed an education program to improve fire and safety awareness, which was piloted at Perth schools for deaf children. This program was well-received, prompting him to expand the information for adults and families. Michael was recognised for identifying the increased risk for hearing-impaired people and implementing a new initiative well beyond the requirements of his role as a firefighter.
WA Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service Award
Melanie McGoldrick, Lancelin Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service
Melanie McGoldrick created a new cadet program to engage and mentor a new generation of emergency responders, ensuring it would meet the needs of Lancelin Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service. Interest in the new cadet program has been strong, securing the future of the brigade. She undertook this new role in addition to her responsibilities as the brigade’s secretary and a volunteer firefighter. Melanie is a passionate, energetic volunteer and is a valued and respected member of her community.
Team Achievement Award
Roleystone Volunteer Fire Brigade
The Roleystone Volunteer Fire Brigade members developed a community engagement strategy and worked with stakeholders to improve bushfire preparedness in the Perth Hills. To inspire behavioural change and ensure the community was well-informed, the volunteers produced a newsletter, increased their social media engagement, held community events, and gave presentations to local community groups. They also organised an evacuation drill to give the community a more practical understanding of bushfire safety. The brigade’s efforts were put to the test when a bushfire emergency warning was issued for the area in December 2019. The community successfully enacted their bushfire plans, demonstrating the success of the brigade’s campaign.
Youth Achievement Award
Jordan McIntosh, Bunbury Bush Fire Brigade
At just 16 years of age, Jordan is an active member of the Bunbury Bush Fire Brigade, its cadet program and the Grace Christian School Emergency Services Cadets. Since he was 12, he has been working towards his goal of being a career firefighter. Last year Jordan competed with the Bunbury Bushfire Cadets at the Australian Fire Cadet Championships in New South Wales, participated in the Mining Emergency Response Competition in Perth and attended the DFES Youth Leadership Camp in Jurien Bay. His passion, commitment and willingness to step up to any challenge is an outstanding example to other young volunteers.
For more information about the 2020 Firefighting Awards visit dfes.wa.gov.au/awards
Media Contact: DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9395 9543