Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


MBE for USAR Technician John Ball

Essex Firefighter and search and rescue dog handler John Ball is set to receive an MBE for his services to national and international search and rescue.

John has been named in the Queen’s Birthday honours list in recognition of the prominent role he has played as part of international search and rescue missions and the wider role he has undertaken in enhancing and promoting the role of Search and Rescue Dogs throughout the World.

John and search and rescue dog Darcy have been working together since 2005 and have attended major incidents at home and abroad. They were part of the international rescue team following major earthquakes in Sumatra in 2009 and again in Nepal last year.

John has also used the skills he’s gained as part of both the Service’s Urban Search and Rescue Team and the UK International Search and Rescue teams to help ensure that other countries have resources in  place to deal with major disasters.

As one of the few fully qualified UK search and rescue dog assessors he has travelled around the world helping to make sure that rescue teams are ready to join international efforts in countries which have suffered a disaster. Since qualifying in that role in 2010 he has shared his expertise with international teams including Malaysia, Japan, Austria and Qatar.

On learning that he had been awarded the honour,  John said: “I am extremely proud and honoured to have been chosen for this award.

“There are so many deserving people in the emergency services so it was a huge surprise to me to discover that I was to receive an MBE.

“It is important to remember that everything I do is part of a team effort and I could not have done this without the help and support of my wife Helen, our family and my colleagues at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and UKISAR.

“Most importantly I have to thank Darcy. She has been a loyal and dedicated partner who has been at my side throughout this journey and I would not have been given this honour if it wasn’t for her. She is a truly remarkable dog and I am proud to work with her.”

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