Fire medals for Gippsland duo

Two Gippsland Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning officers have received the Australian Fire Services Medal for their contributions to combating bushfires.

They are Rachel Dawkins of Valencia Creek and Andrew Gillham.

The award citation states Ms Dawkins has provided excellent leadership during the past 12 years working with the emergency sector to develop new systems for relaying information to communities during fire emergencies.

She co-ordinates and supports a team of information officers within the Gippsland Emergency Services network.

As a media officer within the public information section, she provides information to communities during times of emergency response.

Ms Dawkins organises pre-fire season workshops in the Gippsland area for local media and emergency service personnel and she utilises her media skills to work with a state-wide team to develop and deliver training for other emergency services media officers.

She identifies people who have potential in emergency management and is acknowledged state wide by her peers as a dedicated, experienced and reliable officer in an emergency situation.

Mr Gillham has provided more than 30 years of service in fire and emergency management and has achieved the highest level across three of the incident management roles, specifically as a level three incident controller, level three planning officer and level three operations.

His breadth of experience and knowledge and professional approach to managing and leading staff was evident during major fire campaigns that have included the Alpine Fires 2002-03, Wilson’s Promontory 2005, Great Divide Fire 2006-07, Black Saturday 2009 and the Gippsland Fires of 2014.

Mr Gillham’s engagement with communities and mentoring of incident leadership professionals into key senior roles, and his support and guidance of other staff, has placed DELWP in good stead to meet the future challenges of mega fires and climate change effects on the environment.