Fire medals awarded

NATIONAL Emergency Medals have been presented to 153 CFA members from Gippsland for their extraordinary service during the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

Representing Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells, Morwell MLA Russell Northe congratulated the award recipients on receiving the national honour.

“Members from the Gippsland Group Brigades provided sustained service and support to protect communities during a period of great destruction and loss,” Mr Northe said.

“These award recipients fought bravely to protect lives and property during an extremely long and difficult fire campaign and I want to commend them for their courage and commitment.”

Ceremonies will be held across Victoria to award National Emergency Medals to more than 4470 members nominated for their involvement in the 2009 Victorian bushfires campaign.

The medals are marked ‘Vic Fires 09’.

The National Emergency Medal was established to recognise sustained service to others during a declared nationally significant emergency.

Medals have also been awarded to volunteers involved in two other emergencies declared nationally significant, Cyclone Yasi and the Queensland Floods of December 2010 and January 2011.

Earlier this year National Emergency Medals were awarded to 224 State Emergency Service members for their service in 2009 bushfires.

Mr Northe said the state government was delivering on its commitment to upgrade 250 CFA stations during its first term in government.

“We will continue to do everything we can to strengthen Victoria’s emergency services,” he added.

Mr Northe said Victoria had one of the best emergency services in the world.’

“Staff and volunteers do a tremendous job responding to serious challenges and emergencies,” he said.

He said the state government greatly valued the vital work performed by CFA, one of the world’s largest volunteer organisations, with more than 60,000 members 98 per cent of them volunteers.