SIMON HEADLEY WINS BRITISH CITIZENS AWARD

Simon Headley, a selfless emergency volunteer, has been recognised at the House of Lords for his dedication to supporting his community and has been commended for his outstanding commitment to the emergency services. His selfless responsibility has helped him gain one of the country’s highest accolades – a British Citizen Award (BCA). The BCA recognises extraordinary achievements by everyday people who have made a positive difference to the lives of others that may otherwise have gone unnoticed.

Simon has had a lifelong ambition to work with fire and rescue services and he currently works as a full time administrator at Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service. As well as this, Simon is the coordinator for the British Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support and also manages to make time to support three other agencies voluntarily.

He is on call for 12 hours a week as a first responder for the East Midlands Ambulance Service, where he responds to urgent requests and deals with life threatening situations regularly. He also dedicates 12 hours each week to Leicestershire Search and Rescue and chooses to be on call for 48 hours each week for the British Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support.

When asked about receiving his award, Simon said: “Being awarded a BCA is one of the greatest accomplishments I’ve ever received. It’s an honour to be recognised for something I’m very passionate about and has given me so much joy over the years. I was completely shocked when I found out I was being honoured with this prestigious award. I didn’t know too much about the BCAs until I was nominated, but being recognised for the work I do is a huge achievement and I’m very excited.”

He continued: “Even though I’m only a volunteer, I take all my positions seriously because I’m dealing with the lives of others. I want to do the best I can to make the lives of others easier, and be there as a support system for those who need it. I’m always trying to learn new things that can benefit others.”

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OPERATION NEW YEAR EXERCISE

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service do more than just put out fires. We have highly trained crews who are trained for many things such as road traffic collisions and technical rescue work. Due to the forever changing environments, we have to make sure that our crews skills are refreshed and updated regularly in order to keep them on top of their game and prepared at all times – you never know when they are going to be needed!

Recently our Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) had to take part in Operation New Year Exercise, which was arranged by our very own Paul Purser. This was a USAR exercise for Zone 2 Essex, Buckinghamshire, West Midlands, Norfolk, Lincoln and ourselves and, was organised as part of our assurance process for USAR.

It turned out to be an excellent weekend made up of a number of workshops on the Friday and Saturday. These consisted of breaking and breaching technical search, shoring, lifting and moving and, working on a rubble pile. At 01:00am on the Sunday morning, Operation New Year began and the teams worked all the way through until 09:00am the same day – not an easy training exercise to say the least.

This training event allowed specialist teams to train and work together in a live environment. The ability to train in these environments is essential to emergency services such as ourselves. It allows preparation for worst-case scenarios on site prior to any actual emergency happening. This prior knowledge is invaluable as it enhances the potential for successful outcomes  if and when a real life scenario occurs.

The experiences of the day allowed all the teams involved to learn from one another, helping them better enhance their skill set. They were able to share ideas and learning outcomes which can only help them in the future. On behalf of everyone involved during the exercise, we would like to say a huge thank you.

FLYING THE FLAG

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service Birstall HQ, Loughborough Fire and Rescue Station and Shepshed Fire and Rescue Station are raising the rainbow flag today (Tuesday 17 May) for International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT).

This is a worldwide annual landmark to draw the attention of decision makers, the media, members of the public, opinion leaders and local authorities to the alarming situation faced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people and, all those who do not conform to majority sexual and gender norms.

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service are continually working to promote important messages and develop an understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) initiatives, through internal networks, forums and work with other organisations. IDAHOT has been promoted throughout the organisations since 2013 and, in 2014 an award was won for the most improved employer in the East Midlands at the Stonewall Workplace Equality Awards.

Joanna Raisin, Crew Manager at Loughborough Red Watch, said: “It may only be a small act of flying a flag at the station but, hopefully it sends out a strong message of support for the LGBT community, and says that the Service doesn’t tolerate bullying of any sort. We believe that people should be able to be themselves and be proud of who they are.”

‘ShOUT!’ is Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender network, made up of staff members who have a drive to move forward with matters relating to sexual orientation and workplace equality. If you want to find out more information visit our Twitter page @LFRSshout.

RUDOLPH DOING WHAT HE DOES BEST

Rudolph has become a popular figure in the local communities in Leicestershire since he made his first appearance in 1949 and, he has gone on to help raise more than £300,000 over the years. During his time he has had a few make overs to keep him going and now, he is looking better than he ever has.

On Wednesday 27 April 2016, on behalf of the Rudolph Fund Committee, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s Deputy Chief Fire and Rescue Officer Steve Lunn presented six charities with their share of the donations collected from members of the public throughout the December 2015 collections.

During the collections Rudolph and his team, which included volunteers and firefighters, travelled around Leicester in the cold and dark winter days to raise this money for the charities, as they have done for many years. They managed to raise a huge £10,758.19 which was shared amongst; After 18, Adapt, Friends of Sycamore Court, Leicester Children’s Holiday Centre (Mablethorpe), Leicestershire Down’s Syndrome Group and When You Wish Upon a Star. All the charities were very grateful for the money they received and are now able to put this into helping out the people who need it.

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Lucy Dalgress, from the charity When You Wish Upon A Star, said: “We organise an annual trip to Lapland for children in the East Midlands so this donation from Rudolph means we are off to see Rudolph!”

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service wouldn’t have been able to do this without the generosity from the members of the public and the commitment from volunteers and staff so, we want to say a big thank you to you all. You have helped us make people in need happy and, it wouldn’t have been possible without you.

Rudolph will be back on the roads this December, after he’s had his long overdue summer holiday and recovered from last years antics. Keep a look out for him again in 2016 – updates on his whereabouts will be release nearer the time.

A MESSAGE TO STFF FROM OUR DEPUTY CHIEF FIRE AND RESCUE OFFICER

As I am sure all staff are aware, the Fire Brigades’ Union has announced a further period of strike action that will commence tomorrow morning at 07:00 hours and last for 24 hours.

The ongoing ‘pensions’ dispute with the Government has affected the Service for more than 18 months now and with the hope that a resolution is found quickly, it is perhaps timely to remind everyone that the policies and procedures we have agreed should be adhered to at all times. We all share a common purpose of making our communities safer and as such, we should treat each other and members of our communities with respect at all times remembering the values of the Service, each individual’s right to personal beliefs and the expectations of the communities we serve.

RICHARD CHANDLER
Deputy Chief Fire and Rescue Officer