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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Bravery and commitment of firefighters recognised on St Florian’s Day

The RFS will today honour nearly 80 volunteers, staff and teams for their bravery and exceptional service across a wide and varied array of emergencies, including bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic. Commissioner of the RFS, Rob Rogers, will be joined by Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib at the RFS State Training Academy in Dubbo. Held on the fourth of May each year, the award ceremony coincides with the Feast Day of St Florian, Patron Saint of Firefighters and International Firefighters’ Day. “Today we say thank you to the RFS volunteers and staff who selflessly respond to all manner of fire and emergencies, often leaving their own families behind to help others.” Minister Dib said. “I am incredibly proud of the men and women who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to protecting NSW communities in times of crisis.” Commissioner Rogers paid special tribute to Operational Officer Philip Blackmore, who will be awarded the highest NSW RFS commendation, the Commissioner’s Award for Valour. Officer Blackmore was nearby when a car explosion, caused by an acetylene cylinder, rocked the township of Gwandalan on Father’s Day 2020. Assisted by an off-duty paramedic, Mr Matthew Wilson, Officer Blackmore rushed to assist and began resuscitation on a man found lying beside the vehicle with significant burns and injuries. “The pair worked in extremely volatile and dangerous conditions to give the man every chance of survival, providing CPR while the car was still burning nearby,” Commissioner Rogers said. “Officer Blackmore put himself in harm’s way to try and save someone’s life.” Officer Blackmore’s fellow Gwandalan Brigade members, alongside members of the Lake Munmorah Bush Fire Brigade, will receive a Commissioner’s Citation for Service (Unit) for their courageous response to this major incident. Commissioner Rogers also recognised the efforts of RFS Aviation Rescue crews, who since February 2022 have performed more than 180 rescues to save people trapped by rising floodwaters. “On 14 November, Aviation Rescue Crew members confronted complex and challenging conditions to undertake 67 rescues by helicopter in the township of Eugowra,” Commissioner Rogers said. “This is the largest number of successive rescues performed by rescue aircraft on any single day in Australian history.” Commissioner Rogers praised all of this year’s recipients for their dedication and professionalism. “Every single one of these members should be proud of their commitment to protecting communities across the state,” he said. The full list of recipients of the 2023 St Florian’s Day Awards is available here:


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