08 October 2018
Darren Dovey and staff with award certificate

​An awards ceremony has been held to honour and recognise the hard work, courage and commitment shown by Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service firefighters and staff.

The evening, which was held at Kettering Conference Centre on Friday, saw awards handed out for everything ranging from long service and good conduct, to the skilled work carried out in specific rescues.

Awards went to three members of the Fire Control team who were on duty to handle pleas for help from the public on May 27, when Northamptonshire experienced flash flooding.

Fire Control staff took more than 130 flood-related 999 calls in just a few hours, deploying both fire appliances and specialist boat rescue units to attend 117 separate flooding incidents.

Strong team ethos

WM Sally Manton, who was among the control room staff dealing with flooding calls, said: “My reaction to this award is that I’m really pleased for the team. We always have a strong team ethos. I’m very proud of the decisions I made that night.”

Members of Fire Control Staff also received awards for the part they played in the rescue of three boys who became lost and trapped in Northampton’s drainage system on July 9, 2018.

Fortunately one of the boys was able to ring 999 to explain that he and two of his friends were lost. An operation then began, tying together efforts by fire, police and ambulance to locate the young people and carry out a successful rescue.

Fire control staff were instrumental in the rescue as they were able to maintain contact with the boys, keeping them calm, and assisting crews on scene by relaying their location using GPS technology.

Hayleigh Marks, one of the control room staff who won the commendation, said: “I was on the phone for more than two hours just trying to keep the boys calm and reassuring them I would stay on the phone for as long as it took and until the Fire Service found them. I’m really proud to receive this award.”

Among the firefighters to receive awards were members of Red Watch Mereway, who were re-presented with the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire Award for their efforts in dealing with the aftermath of an M1 collision in which eight people died.

The three-vehicle collision, which involved two lorries and a minibus, happened shortly before 3:15am on Saturday, August 26, 2017, close to Newport Pagnell, near junction 14. Eight people died in the incident and a further four were seriously injured.

Chief Fire Officer Commendations also went to members of Red Watch Corby, who took part in a rescue from scaffolding in May, 2018.

Exemplary conduct

Five firefighters also received their Long Service and Good Conduct Awards. These were awarded, by the Lord Lieutenant David Laing on behalf of the Crown, to firefighters who have given 20 years continuous service and have had exemplary conduct.

Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey said: “We hold an awards ceremony every year because it is important we never take for granted the amazing work Fire Service staff do, often when there are people’s lives hanging in the balance.

“The specific stories and rescues we have singled out to recognise in this awards evening are just a snapshot of the incredibly challenging rescue situations our staff find themselves dealing with every day.

“I’m very proud to have the chance to present these awards, which really help recognise the high levels of commitment, clear decision making and bravery we have within NFRS. Everyone who received one of these awards is thoroughly deserving of this recognition.”

Recognition also went to a team of Northamptonshire Emergency Services Cadets, who were presented with their award for clinching third place in the Emergency Fire Cadets National Games, which took place in August at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in London.

A Chief Fire Officer award also went to the Chief Fire Officer Cadet Katie Alland for her hard work and commitment.

Darren Dovey and Katie Alland