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Some of the outstanding moments from Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue service this year

Northamptonshire firefighters who helped two distressed women in separate incidents – and saved their lives in the process – are among those to have been given commendations for their incredible work.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service held an Awards Ceremony at the County Ground to honour staff members who went above and beyond in the line of duty.

Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey was on hand to present five commendations where the actions of individuals or teams led directly to the saving of a life or delivered an outstanding service to the public under extreme pressure.

The Red Watch crew at The Mounts were commended for saving the life of a woman who was in a dangerous position on a bridge over the M1. The crew acted quickly to park their fire engine on the motorway underneath the woman, with firefighters then climbing the ladder to rescue her and bring her down to safety. The crew consisted of Watch Manager Ian Grant, Crew Manager Aaron Childs and firefighters Ben Muddle and Chris Evans.

The White Watch crew in Mereway also came to the aid of a distressed woman in the same month, noticing her by the side of the busy A45 on the way back from attending a previous incident. Having turned around to come to her aid, the crew safeguarded her while keeping her away from the busy carriageway. Firefighter Natasha Dorrill also built a rapport with the woman and helped to keep her calm until she was taken to safety. As well as Firefighter Dorrill, the crew included firefighters Steven Pateman and James Woodfield, under the command of Watch Manager David Ingham.

Another crew at Mereway, Blue Watch, received a commendation for the dignified way in which they dealt with the tricky operation of removing the body of a man in July who had sadly died on the fourth floor of a building in Northampton. The members of Blue Watch were Watch Manager Aidy Donald and firefighters Christian Martin, Benjamin Jordan and Harry Osborne.

Two individual members of staff also received commendations from the Chief. Joanne Garner works in the Fire Control centre in Daventry fielding 999 calls from members of the public and was commended for the calm and professional way in which she managed a distressing call from a person who was witnessing a serious fire back in February.

There was also recognition for the recently retired Shaun Johnson after 47 years of dedicated service to the residents of Northamptonshire. Although a police employee, Shaun was considered just as much a part of the fire family having served in the joint police and fire Arson Task Force, playing a pivotal role in protecting those at risk from threats of arson relating to domestic abuse, hate crimes and honour-based violence. Before that, he had championed the Northamptonshire County Schools Challenge, which offered a platform for young people to share ideas on tackling arson, crime and anti-social behaviour.

As well as the Chief Fire Officer’s Commendations, awards were given to the Rothwell Station on-call crew for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic in helping East Midlands Ambulance Service by driving ambulances and delivering prescriptions to vulnerable people. They also provided support at the temporary mortuary in Wollaston.

And Towcester Fire Station was recognised for being the on-call station providing the best availability, with the crew working hard to maximise the pump’s run time and holding successful recruitment events to boost the crew from five people to 13.

And finally, 18 members of operational staff received Long Service and Good Conduct Medals – presented by Lord-Lieutenant James Saunders Watson – marking 20 years of service while five members of staff also received 20 Year Long Service Awards.

Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey said: “The last 20 months or so have been tough for all of us and it makes the fact that we are able to bring people together for the first time in two years extra special.

“While the pandemic has been difficult, it has also shown the best of what the Fire Service can do in a crisis. Unlike many other occupations, firefighters and many other frontline staff could not work from home and as such continued to come into work and serve the public.

“The Fire Service continues to be held in high regard by the community and this is due, in no small part, to the efforts of the people who have been commended. Their unselfish commitment to the safety of our community is worthy of being recognised and we are extremely proud of them.”

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold, who helped to present some of the long service awards, added: “Being able to recognise people who go above and beyond is one of the best things I get to do as the Commissioner.

“It is important to me that we value the contribution that everyone makes to Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service and the safety of people in this county, whatever their role.”

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