Colo Vale resident Kamarah Pooley has been named as a finalist for the Rotary Districts of NSW Emergency Services Community Awards (RESCA).
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RESCA is a community-nominated award and is the only time all emergency services personnel, both paid and volunteer, are recognised in a combined awards program.
A firefighter for nine and half years, Ms Kamarah said she felt humbled and lucky to be named as a finalist "among such highly respected and valued members of Fire and Rescue NSW."
"I was only nominated because I work for incredibly supportive and inclusive managers," she said.
While Kamarah works in Western Sydney, she is often seconded to the Community Safety and Research Directorate to contribute to community safety projects.
"My career highlight arose from being seconded to contribute to two innovative projects," she said.
"The development of an evidence-based community engagement framework to systematically guide the implementation and evaluation of community safety initiatives, and the development of evidence-based fire safety education programs for children."
Ms Pooley joined FRNSW for a chance to do something meaningful.
"Every day, we have the opportunity to serve and protect the community. It's a challenging job, but incredibly rewarding," she said.
"The hardest part is responding to critical incidents is difficult.
"However, every preventable critical incident is a reminder of the importance of prevention and education."
For anyone considering a job at FRNSW, Kamarah has a few words of advice.
"Firefighting is a job for anybody, regardless of gender, race, culture, or orientation," she said.
"The greater the diversity within FRNSW, the stronger we are. You just need to study, train hard and persevere.
"Don't leave it up to chance."
Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the awards are a fantastic opportunity to shine a light upon the enormous contribution of emergency services workers and volunteers who put themselves in harm's way to protect the community.
"This is an appropriate time to pause, reflect and congratulate our emergency services workers and volunteers for their incredible contributions to our state - whether it be a disaster, fire or accident, our community owes them a great deal of gratitude," he said.
"This year we received a record number of nominations. The finalists have more than 600 years of combined service and I thank them all for their exemplary community service."
The RESCA awards also support and funds two important Rotary initiatives:
- Australian Rotary Health - PhD Research Scholarship investigating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Emergency Services Personnel
- Emergency and Disaster Preparedness training by a competitively selected Vocational Training Team connected with a developing country in the Asia/Pacific Region.
Finalists are drawn from the NSW Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW, the NSW State Emergency Service, Marine Rescue NSW, Surf Life Saving NSW, NSW Ambulance, and the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association.
Winners for each service, plus two special overall winners, and the young volunteer will be announced on Saturday, August 14, 2021.
The overall winners for NSW will then represent the state at the National Awards to be held later this year.
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