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DPFCC attends Chief Fire Officer Commendation Ceremony

Eight on-call firefighters and five members of the public were recognised for their life saving actions last night (30 June) at a special presentation held at Epping Fire Station.

Watch Manager Derek Whitbread, Crew Manager Jason Whitbread, Crew Manager Ryan Fitzgibbon, Firefighter Bradley Bickerstaffe, Firefighter Tony Knight, Firefighter Robert White, Firefighter Billy Chapman and Firefighter Josh Patience all received Chief Fire Officer Commendations, with Amy Potter, Phoebe Callison, Amy Foster, Amanda Tanner and Suzanne Milne being awarded certificates of appreciation from Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive Rick Hylton.

They saved the life of Gary Murton after he came off his motorcycle, just metres from the fire station. They gave him emergency first aid at the scene and supported him until paramedics arrived and he was airlifted to hospital.

Thankfully Gary made a full recovery. Speaking at the event, he was full of praise for the people who saved his life. He said: “They did a fantastic job. I can’t remember anything at all about the accident but they literally saved my life.”

During the evening of Thursday, 5 August last year, the on-call crew at Epping arrived at the fire station for a fire call but were stood down by the control room. They were just about to return home when they heard a huge bang from outside and saw there had been an accident. Grabbing their personal protective equipment they rushed to the scene and found Gary was struggling to breathe. Carefully removing his helmet with the help of a trauma nurse who was passing by, they gave him medical support and CPR.

Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive Rick Hylton, Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Jane Gardner, and Epping Mayor Cllr Barbara Scruton presented everyone with their awards at the ceremony.

Chief Fire Officer Rick Hylton said: “It was a privilege to award commendations and certificates of appreciation to the Epping crew and the members of the public last night. Because they are who they are and because they are remarkable human beings, without second thought they grabbed their PPE and medical emergency kits and ran across the road to find Gary. Their swift actions on that day saved Gary’s life. The community of Epping came together that night and as a result Gary is here today. It was great to welcome him to the station and see him looking so well.”

Speaking at the event, Jane Gardner, Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “On behalf of Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, I would like to say a massive thank you. I’ve long held the belief that fire stations are the hearts of our communities and this incident is a further demonstration of how in times of crisis, emergency services and communities come together. It’s fantastic that we can honour our firefighters and brilliant that we can honour the members of the public who were there and working alongside our firefighters to do absolutely the right thing. As a consequence of your actions, you saved a life, it’s just humbling to be able to say that, let alone what you all did on that evening. You should be hugely proud of yourselves.”

Mayor of Epping, Cllr Barbara Scruton thanked the Epping crew for all they do to keep the town safe. She said: “I speak for all the people in Epping and the surrounding areas when I say that your service to the community is truly appreciated and I thank you all for your hard work, dedication and commitment in helping to keep others safe, especially during the pandemic and we’ve heard tonight of this situation where you saved someone’s life. Thank you so much.”

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PFCC for Essex, Kelvedon Park, London Road, Rivenhall, Witham, Essex, CM8 3HB
01245 291600

If your enquiry relates to operational policing or a crime please contact Essex Police

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