WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Army has announced its winners for the 2009 Fire and Emergency Services awards for special achievements of individuals, teams and fire departments.

"I am thankful for all of our fire and emergency services professionals who put their own lives on the line while protecting those who defend America," said Cheryle Hess, chief of Installation Logistics, Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management. "I especially applaud those recognized this year for taking care of our Soldiers, families and civilians and for making Army communities safe."

The awards are based on, but not inclusively: customer service; department-level awards; accreditation; certifications; innovativeness; firefighter health and safety; and other initiatives. The awards selections panel consisted of judges from Fire and Emergency Services from Arlington, Va., and the Air Force.

The winners with award categories are:

Sgt. 1st Class Darrin Shiplett, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., is the Military Fire Officer of the Year. As liaison at the U.S. Army Engineer School for active-duty members, reservists, and National Guard firefighters, he researched, coordinated and disseminated current information to Army firefighters on a daily basis, staying abreast of constant changes faced within the fire service arena. Shiplett was selected as the school's senior writer/instructor, responsible for providing equipment, training manuals and doctrinal literature to firefighters throughout the service. Plus he delivers training opportunities to approximately 450 firefighter students annually. And he researched, identified and submitted regulatory guidance to be used in the new Army regulation for Army facilities management.

Spc. Joshua Seligman, Fort Rucker, Ala., is the Military Firefighter of the Year. As a driver/operator and rescue specialist, he responded to more than 100 precautionary landings in the past year. Seligman voluntarily supported the South Carolina National Guard with live fire and driver operator training. Having worked on numerous types of aircraft assigned to the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, he used his technical knowledge to mentor and enhance the skill level of assigned firefighters. Seligman has provided more than 60 hours of classroom instruction to fellow firefighters on various subjects, including aircraft familiarization, hose and pump testing, building constructions, first aid and CPR, ladder operations, wild land firefighting and hazardous materials training.

David Lewis, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, is the Civilian Fire Officer of the Year. Lewis has been recognized repeatedly for outstanding performance. As lead member of emergency medical services, he has authored emergency medical protocols for advanced care. As a department health and safety committee member, he has improved safety standard operating procedures. In a lead role, he responded to a three-alarm fire, and because of the quick response, the fire was contained at the point of origin. He implemented and standardized an automated patient care reporting system, resulting in a 50 percent reduction in report processing time.

Timothy Massey, Fort Meade, Md., is the Civilian Firefighter of the Year. Massey oversees placement of hazardous material and weapons-of-mass-destruction-air-sampling-filter units at large events, along with maintaining all detection devices for hazardous material responses. He has designed an education program for new and existing pumper and aerial operators. Massey is known in the local community serving as an instructor for the county.

Gerald Schiedewitz, Fort Knox, Ky., is the Fire Service Instructor of the Year. He developed a vehicle incident and accident prevention training program, resulting in zero preventable accidents in 2009. He also developed and implemented a detailed training program for the emergency 911 Center, resulting in error-free emergency dispatch. Schiedewitz created a training program that ties fire and emergency and service support teams interfacing with community medics, resulting in initial and continuing education opportunities for emergency technician training. His performance during the H1N1 outbreak proved valuable by developing procedures to train all responders for post-wide use.

Fort Detrick, Md., Fire and Emergency Services, is the Fire Prevention Program of the Year for providing fire prevention support and life safety education to Soldiers, families, and civilians. Their program consists of numerous building inspections and code compliance inspections to ensure a safe working and living environment at Fort Detrick. They conducted more than 30 community events: station tours, apparatus displays and public education talks. They started a program with contractors to institute fire evacuation drills at buildings under construction, ensuring workers were familiar with evacuation procedures. The Fort Detrick Fire and Emergency Services is the first garrison to receive the prestigious Voluntary Protection Program Star award from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Fire and Emergency Services received The Heroism Award for their response to a remote training and testing range incident on base, which involved a military tank filled with highly explosive, unexploded ordnance that caught fire, with personnel being seriously injured. The responding units took immediate action, expertly evaluating, treating and evacuating the injured and controlling the fire.

The Army Blue Grass Depot, Ky., Fire and Emergency Services is the (small) Fire Department of the Year. Two of their firefighters received the Army Humanitarian Service award for heroism; they were key in the depot winning the prestigious 2009 Richmond Chamber of Commerce Industry of the Year award. They have been praised by higher headquarters Chemical Surety Inspection for excellent emergency response procedures and capabilities.

Fort Detrick, Md., Fire and Emergency Services is the (medium) Fire Department of the Year. Personnel serve on the Operational Planning Group for installations, providing fire and life safety information. They participate on the nearby county emergency planning committee with community planning drills. They are developing a regional federal training center that will include a burn building, tower and extrication pad. They continue to be a leader in biological response, helping partners of the National Bio-defense Campus plan and execute emergency response for the largest concentration of laboratories in the world.

Fort Hood, Texas, Fire and Emergency Services is (large) Fire Department of the Year. They were recognized for their installation support - most notably, saving lives in the November 2009 mass shooting incident. They are recognized as one of the best by the Texas Forest Service for wild land fire protection. They maintain the largest military fire fighter contingency in the Army, and hone their skills on a continual basis to prepare for downrange deployment to the Middle Eastern/Central Asian theaters.

The honorees have been nominated to compete against the winners of the sister services for the 2009 Department of Defense Fire and Emergency Service awards. This awards program is open to all DoD fire departments and firefighters and is held in cooperation with the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

Page last updated Wed June 2nd, 2010 at 14:46