Bravery and dedication honoured at fire service awards

Firefighters and volunteers presented with thier commendation awards.
Firefighters and volunteers presented with thier commendation awards.

A retained firefighter who helped save a member of the public found lying unconscious on the pavement was one of several people honoured at an awards ceremony last night (September 27).

Rod Gates, a fire service trainer in Horsham, received a Commendation for Dedication Above and Beyond the Call of Duty at the West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Awards for his work in helping resuscitate a person who had collapsed outside Shoreham Community Fire Station.

Firefighters being presented with their Long Service Medals.

Firefighters being presented with their Long Service Medals.

The fire service said he found the member of the public lying on the pavement with blood on their face and head. They were not breathing and Rod carried out CPR and helped treat the person for 25 minutes before paramedics arrived.

The casualty was rushed to hospital but was fully conscious, talking and had a suspected dislocated knee as well as head and face injuries.

Rod was one of several firefighters, volunteers and members of the public recognised at the ceremony at Arundel Castle.

For the first time, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service combined its Long Service and Good Conduct Medal Ceremony with its Chief Fire Officer Commendation Awards, which mark courage, dedication and selflessness from people across the county.

Matt Myerscough, Watch Commander at Haywards Heath Fire Station, was honoured with a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

The medals are awarded nationally, on behalf of the Queen, to wholetime and retained firefighters who have completed two decades of outstanding service to their community.

Mark Burton, who is based at Crawley, also picked up a Long Service award along with Partridge Green firefighter Matt Bullingham, Giles Sparkes, from the Training, Development and Assurance team at Worthing, who lives in Storrington, and Ed Swain, who is based at Worthing and lives in Billingshurst.

Gavin Watts, Chief Fire Officer and Director Operations, thanked guests for their dedication and commitment to the service and their local communities.

He said: “This event celebrates the very best of this county and recognises diligence, commitment and bravery. It is an honour to be able to thank everyone on behalf of West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.”