2021 WA Fire & Emergency Services Awards

2021 WA Fire & Emergency Services Awards

Congratulations to all 2021 WAFES Award winners and nominees. Once again, the standard of nominees across the board has been significant making it very difficult for the judges to make decisions on who should receive an award.

The 2021 West Australian Volunteer Fire and Emergency Service Award was awarded to Simone Conklin, Captain Eucla VFES.

Simone has been the Captain of the Eucla VFES for over 10 years. The Eucla VFES is one of the remotest BGU’s in Western Australia, located on the Eyre highway, 11km west of the WA/SA border.  The townsite has a very small population, with the closest BGU on the WA side being Norseman VFRS which is approx. 8 hours away. On the South Australian side, the nearest brigade is Ceduna some 5 hours away. The tyranny of distance and isolation brings into perspective Simone’s role – the BGU has a small band of volunteers and relies on WA Police to provide support when an incident occurs on either side of the border. The main highway that runs through Eucla is remarkably busy with road trains, cars, caravans etc at most times of the year.

The role of Captain and volunteers is 24/7 and members can be exposed to horrific scenes with badly injured or deceased persons on the highway as a result of vehicle incidents or truck rollovers that cause bushfires or block the highway. Under the guidance of Simone the BGU carries out all duties in a professional manner at all times therefore providing the travelling public with an excellent emergency service that responds in an efficient manner.

The BGU also attends bushfires and is involved in bushland mitigation at different times of the year.

Simone’s dedication to her role and responsibilities makes her a worthy winner of the Volunteer Fire & Emergency Services Award for 2021.

On behalf of the Volunteer Fire & Emergency Services Association (WA) we congratulate you on receiving our most prestigious award. Your contribution to emergency services in a remote area of WA is significant. Well done.

We also congratulate our other finalist nominees – Chris Unstead (Captain, Bullsbrook VFES) and Tim Batten (Cadet Coordinator, Bullsbrook VFES).  Chris was nominated for his outstanding contribution to the Bullsbrook VFES and the community. Chris is doing a wonderful job as Captain of Bullsbrook and his leadership and management of the BGU is at a high level.

Tim was nominated for his work in recognising changes were needed to the cadet training program at Bullsbrook VFES and implementing changes that have seen the cadet program grow from two cadets to 14 today.  These are our up and coming first responders, and we congratulate Tim on his efforts in this space.

We also take the opportunity to congratulate the winner of the 2021 Murray Lang Bush Fire Service Award, James ‘Jimbo’ Taylor.

Jimbo in his role as a Captain at Broome BFB has spent a lot of time developing a team that is community focused, but based on team work and hard work. The brigade attends numerous bushfires throughout the year and supports the Broome VFRS when required.  The brigade also completes several school visits each year to discuss bushfire awareness. They also are heavily involved in bushland mitigation throughout the region.

Jimbo was also involved in the development of the new Broome BFB Fire Station which is now an iconic building in Broome and will service the volunteers for many years to come.

Under Jimbo’s leadership there has been significant growth in membership and training.  Well done James ‘Jimbo’ Taylor!

2021 Volunteer Fire & Emergency Service Award – Simone Conklin, Eucla VFES

2021 Murray Lang Bush Fire Service Award – James ‘Jimbo’ Taylor, Broome BFB