A firefighter with West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) has received a New Year Honour for his work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Crew Commander Dave Pitt was recognised a year ago for his contribution to ensuring the health and safety of colleagues across WMFS.
He was presented with his Queen’s Fire Service Medal (QFSM) today (7 Dec) by HRH Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge at Windsor Castle.
Based at Fallings Park fire station in Wolverhampton, Dave worked tirelessly on helping to plan, devise and deliver a wide range of pandemic-related activities within demanding time constraints – whilst continuing to serve as an operational firefighter at Smethwick fire station, where he was then based.
Dave, who joined WMFS as a firefighter in 2009 and started his career at West Bromwich fire station, said: “This is a huge honour and I know it means a lot to my parents in particular. My dad retired as a Watch Commander with West Midlands Fire Service six years ago.
“The pandemic has disrupted many organisations and businesses, but it has brought our service together in a way I’ve not seen in more than ten years.
“I am humbled but also hesitant about receiving the QFSM when so many of my colleagues have also worked so very hard. This is why I am dedicating it to all those who have come together at WMFS to serve our communities at such a challenging time.”
Dave, who also leads on health and safety for the West Midlands Fire Brigades Union, helped to shape policies and procedures which were put in place to protect and support colleagues – including those involved in multi-agency teams set up to move the bodies of people who sadly passed away from the virus at home.
Phil Loach, Chief Fire Officer, said: “Dave worked tirelessly to ensure our service was ready, willing and able to deliver new, vital and sometimes harrowing services to our communities.
“His wide-ranging contribution enabled colleagues in varying roles to work together and to minimise the impact of COVID-19.
“His early, personal involvement in the movement of bodies meant he could help to refine the procedures, giving reassurance and confidence to many colleagues who, as a result, also volunteered.
“His response to the crisis typifies what I have seen time and time again from staff across our service, and which our communities value so highly.”
Councillor Greg Brackenridge, Chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, added: “I congratulate Dave and wish him and his family all the very best at such a proud time.
“The authority is rightly proud of the outstanding service, selflessness and professionalism demonstrated during the pandemic by staff throughout West Midlands Fire Service. These additional responsibilities have had an extremely positive effect for the communities we serve.”