Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation for control operator who saved a life

A control operator from Thames Valley Fire Control Service (TVFCS), whose quick-thinking saved a woman from a house fire, has been commended for her actions.

Michelle Peacock received the Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation of the Year at the Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service and Community Safety annual achievement evening at Blenheim Palace on Wednesday, 17 April.

In the early hours of 5 January 2019, Michelle took a call from a woman in distress, asking for firefighters to attend a fire at her house in Banbury. The resident had woken up to the sound of their smoke alarm as their front door had caught fire.

From the Thames Valley Fire Control Service, based in Calcot, Reading, Michelle rapidly mobilised the required fire appliances and was consistently reassuring to the caller, helping them remain calm.

Whilst doing this, Michelle sent additional information to her team. This was then passed to oncoming fire crews, so they were fully prepped to deal with the emergency.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer Simon Furlong said: “The most impressive thing throughout the entire call was Michelle’s compassion, reassurance and professionalism. 

“She is a well valued member of the Thames Valley Fire Control Service. Her actions, on 5 January, undoubtedly saved a life.” 

Michelle, 32, from Wokingham, was just nine months into her role at TVFCS when the incident took place, having previously worked in a similar job for the ambulance service. She used all her training and experience to avert a more serious outcome.

She commented: “My training was still fresh in my mind, and we always have refreshers and in-house training taking place. I gave the woman fire survival guidance while she was in her bedroom, something which is drummed into us during training, because ensuring the person’s safety is  paramount.

“It’s good for Thames Valley Fire Control to be recognised, because our job is all about teamwork and being professional. This particular incident was in Oxfordshire but we serve the whole of the Thames Valley.” 

Thames Valley Fire Control Service, in Calcot, Reading, handles all fire and rescue emergency calls for the whole of the Thames Valley area, covering Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Royal Berkshire.