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And the Emergency Services Oscars go to… 

For the entertainment industry, there are the Oscars… For the emergency services, there is the 112 Awards Ceremony, writes Marta Azevedo Silva, EENA’s Communications and Press Officer.
A tribute to all those who contribute to a safer society, the event recognises different organisations and citizens for their exceptional contribution to improving and driving change for people’s safety.

The 112 Awards Ceremony is an event organised yearly by the European Emergency Number Association (EENA), which runs in conjunction with the EENA Conference.

The conference brings together European emergency services, public authorities, researchers, and industry representatives to foster the sharing of best practices between all the relevant stakeholders.

This gathering of extraordinary people in the field of emergency did not make sense without a ceremony where they could be honoured before their peers. At a time when the global health situation continues to face an uphill battle, the key role of the emergency services has become clearer than ever, and this event takes on a more prominent role.

Although the event could not have happened as usual (physically), on June 2, an announcement on social media was organised and each awardee and their story were given individual recognition. 

The first awardee of the afternoon was Vasilis Patelakis, who took home the First Aid Ambassador Award. This Greek citizen saved one of his customers who choked while eating at his restaurant by doing the Heimlich manoeuvre. 

After the incident, Vasilis published the CCTV footage from the rescue on social media to raise awareness about the importance of first aid techniques. Several people contacted Vasilis to say that they managed to save someone’s life thanks to his video. On receiving this award, he said: “It is a great honour to receive this 112 Award. My purpose from the beginning was to upload this video in order to make people see how important first aid knowledge is. In a perfect world, first aid lessons would be taught in every school. I hope this will come true one day."

The second trophy was given to the famous football team of AS Roma. The team partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the US and Telefono Azzurro in Italy to use the club’s social media channels to raise awareness about the plight of missing children. The club included pictures of missing children in social media posts announcing new signings. This campaign, that managed to find missing children around the world, earned them the Outstanding Social Media 112 Award. 

AS Roma defender, Max Kumbulla explained the importance of the campaign: "The day my transfer to Roma was announced, I discovered that my new club was working with organisations around the world as a part of the 'Missing Children' campaign, using videos of new player signings to give visibility to missing children across the globe. In fact, a young girl from my announcement video was found safe, and for me, that was an incredibly emotional feeling. Football has the ability to reach a vast audience, and when it can help contribute to resolving situations like this, it makes me very proud to be a part of it. We as footballers can do a lot – I'm very happy, that together with Roma, I was able to do my part also." 

Co-ordinating this campaign was Roma's former Chief Strategy Officer, Paul Rogers. For his creativity and the use of social media for good, he was also awarded with the Outstanding Social Media 112 Award. The initiative showed the importance of utilising the power of the football community to help – because Football Cares

Next, we focused on collaboration between emergency services, an essential element to improve their response. This collaboration is more difficult to achieve between countries, but not impossible, as proved by the next award. The swift and professional international collaboration between call-takers saved the life of a grandmother in Estonia after her granddaughter called the UK emergency services to request help. For this joint effort, Megan Hollinrake, call-taker at the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) and Birgit Krullo, call-taker at the Estonian Emergency Response Centre were both awarded with Call-taker Collaboration Award.

Megan Hollinrake stated that she was very proud to receive our prestigious award on behalf of North West Ambulance Service. “I received the emergency 999 call from a lady in Manchester needing assistance for her Grandma in Estonia, who was having difficulty breathing. I was pleased I was able to help someone in need from so far away. This was a team effort where my colleague helped pass the information over to the other ambulance service in Estonia.” 

Estonian call-taker, Birgit Krullo, was also moved: “I am honoured to receive such a prominent award from EENA. I am grateful that the collaboration of emergency services all over Europe enables us to provide help to Estonian people no matter where they are. I am also very thankful to my colleagues in the UK who contacted the Estonian Emergency Response Centre so we were able to send out help for this grandmother in Haapsalu, Estonia.“
Our next winners were recognised for their work in the air. 

Our Inspirational Role Model Award went to Dr Ola Brown. This renowned medical doctor and healthcare entrepreneur pioneered West Africa's first air-operated emergency medical services in Lagos, Nigeria, the Flying Doctors Nigeria.

Still in the air, our next award was for a rescue in an aeroplane. A victim of a heart attack on a plane flying over Canada was saved thanks to the intervention of six firefighters from the French Firefighters of Carpentras (SDIS 84) who were on board. To thank them for their role in saving a life, these volunteer firefighters received the Remarkable Rescue Award. Commander Eddy Aroca, Fire Station Chief, expressed that he is very proud of this teamwork: “Today, we are also proud to know that the passenger is alive and enjoying life with her family. It’s a great honour for us to participate in the 112 Awards.”

Our last award of the afternoon went to the Kuopio Emergency Response Centre (PSAP Award)
for its incredibly fast response to a sword attack at a college in Kuopio. The first call was responded to within two seconds, the assignment was forwarded in less than 60 seconds and the police reached the attacker in eight minutes, calculated from the time the first emergency call was received. The award shows the importance of Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) to ensure that citizens can always get help quickly. 

The Savo Vocational College, where the attack took place, recorded a video expressing its thanks to the Finnish Emergency Response Centre Agency’s fast response. 

We are very happy to see the engagement on social media from our community surrounding this event and it makes us even more eager to continue honouring emergency services and citizens who go beyond what is expected to save lives and bring significant improvements to the public safety sector.

Without a red carpet, without sparkles and designer dresses, but certainly an event full of stars - our heroes without capes.

Thumbnail: Jamesstar/123rf and main image:  Christos Georghiou/123rf

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