Fire Service celebrates bravery, courage, innovation and dedication

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service celebrated the hard work and efforts of its people at a special awards ceremony this week.

Firefighters were commended for their bravery and support staff were recognised for the important roles they play to keep people safe.

At the event at Hylands House in Chelmsford on Wednesday evening, Rick Hylton, Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive, paid tribute to his team’s work during the COVID 19 pandemic.

He said: “Throughout that time, my team have repeatedly made me feel proud. 

“They went far beyond what anyone could ever have expected and our awards celebrate that.

“At Essex County Fire and Rescue Service we are one team.

“We are firefighters, Control staff, workshops colleagues, support teams and volunteers.

“I’m proud of you all and the work you do everyday to help Essex stay safe.”

Chief Fire Officer Commendations were also given out at the event, wholetime firefighters from Squad 220 who were not able to have a passing out ceremony due to the pandemic received their certificates and representatives from Tilbury Grain Terminal, which the Service worked closely with following a major incident in July 2020, received a special award for partnership working.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service prides itself on recognising the achievements of its team members and values the contributions everyone makes.

There are many different types of career opportunities on offer to people, not just operational and frontline but in specialist and professional support roles too. People can find out more about the range of the roles on offer at join.essex-fire.gov.uk


Employee of the Year

Winner – Lyndsey Gymer (Basildon Fire Station)

Runner up – Dom Bowers (Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand Team)

Runner up – Jane Brown (Recruitment Team)

About the winner: Firefighter Lyndsey Gymer

Firefighter Lyndsey Gymer joined ECFRS in 2019 as an on-call firefighter at Maldon Fire Station and in her short career, she’s already had many achievements and made a difference. After successfully joining Basildon’s wholetime squad Lyndsey was a key part in the Service’s wholetime firefighter recruitment campaign. Taking part in myth-busting videos, full case studies and Q&A sessions, she was passionate about people understanding the role of a modern-day firefighter.

Lyndsey is particularly passionate about encouraging other women to consider firefighting as a career.

Lyndsey and other members of her watch also received a CFO award earlier in the year for a difficult incident they attended.

During the height of the pandemic, Lyndsey volunteered to deliver food orders for a small local business to those in need.

In March this year, Lyndsey became an ECFRS representative for the Networking Group – Women in the Fire Service UK (WFS). At the time, she said it was her chance to encourage others in the fire service and offer her life experiences, be a role model and offer any support and advice to help others.

Lyndsey has also been selected to play for the Women’s England Fire Service Rugby Union Team.

Team of the Year

Winner – Trauma Risk Management (TRiM) Team

Runner up – Ambulance Secondment Team 2020/2021

Runner up – ICT Team

About the winners: Trauma Risk Management (TRiM) Team

There are five Trauma Risk Management (TRiM) co-ordinators and a team of practitioners. TRiM is confidential peer-to-peer support, based around a structured conversation with a like-minded colleague, designed to support colleagues who may need support after traumatic events.

The role of a practitioner is key to helping ECRFS colleagues get the support they may need in a timely and authentic way.

The TRiM Coordinators and Practitioners are all volunteers, who give up their days off, sometimes at a drop of a hat to support their colleagues.

The dedication, empathy and commitment that the team show is second to none. With more than 100 incidents in 2021 that have required TRiM support, the team go above and beyond every single time.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Award

Winner – Nicole Smy (Women’s Forum Chair)

Runner up – Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand Team

Runner up – Paul Pemberton (Prevention Team)

About the winner: Nicole Smy - ICT Relationship Manager

Nicole passionately and authentically believes in the feminist cause, driven by a kind heart, a determination for equality and a warmth for humanity.

By picking up the leadership of ECFRS’ Women's Forum, she has transformed it into an active and strong voice for all female colleagues and for allies of feminism.

Nicole has drawn together a raft of women and men from across the Service to represent as many staff groups as possible.

Notable successes, achieved in collaboration and without self-promotion, include the Female Operational Group initiative and the International Women’s Day events. Encouraging active participation by female firefighters in the topics that matter to them, including reform of maternity and welfare policies, Nicole has built a strong staff network that flourishes as a result of the diversity of voices.

Excellence in Innovation

Winner – Education Team and Jade Saunders (Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand Team)

Runner up – Jordan Brice, Leanne Little and Tim Gardiner (Performance and Data Team)

Runner up – Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand Team

About the winners:

The Education Team and Jade Saunders from Corporate Communications, Marketing and Brand Team

ECFRS and Essex Police work collaboratively to deliver vital fire and crime education to thousands of school children each year, something that stopped when schools closed during the pandemic. The Education Team had the idea to launch an online education hub to allow them to continue delivering safety lessons to children while schools were closed.

The Education Team contacted the Corporate Communications Team to support the idea. Jade Saunders led the way with that support - from helping the Education Team to record the videos, to editing them and uploading them to create the Education Hub. The finished product now hosts more than 65 videos for schools to use in lessons and assemblies for all pupils from reception to sixth form and college.

Inspirational Leader

Winner – Steve Taylor (Performance and Data Management Team)

Runner up – Sarah Taylor (ICT Team)

Runner up – Dave Fergusson (Operational Training Team)

About the winner: Steve Taylor - Systems and Data Services Manager

Steve is always available as a listening ear and will do everything he can both inside and outside of working hours to ensure his team and the wider service are happy in their job and feel confident sharing information in a safe space.

Steve successfully implemented a new system, CFRMIS. This is now widely used throughout the Service and its use continues to grow. He has arranged training for all staff members who use the system. This covers a large number of staff outside of Steve's inner team, including operational staff right through to the Prevention, Protection, Home Safety, Safeguarding and Education teams.

Unsung Hero

Winner – Steve Taylor (Performance and Data Management Team)

Runner up – Andre Turner (Protection Team)

Runner up – Andrea MacAlister (Prevention Team)

About the winner: Steve Taylor - System and Data Services Manager

Steve was nominated for the ‘Unsung Hero’ award for all of his incredible hard work, effort and time dedicated to driving the Service’s social committee, social quiz and choir.

He has a real passion for breaking down barriers and bringing everyone together and this shows with his commitment to the social committee. The colleague who nominated him said “it has been such a difficult few years for us all and the Friday evening quiz really did bring joy and a purpose to the week. We all look forward to a Friday evening and seeing 'friends'”. Some of us within our roles may not have crossed paths and the quiz strengthens our #OneTeam value as a Service.



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