Chief Fire Officer Justin Johnston and Crew Manager Lindsay Sielski have been recognised for their work in the fire and rescue service community in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.
Justin Johnston, who has been at the forefront of innovation and health and wellbeing initiatives in the fire and rescue services sector over the last 10 years, has been awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal.
Justin is the National Fire Chief Council’s Vice Chair and has served as their lead for drones and has been the Chair of FireFit where he has raised awareness of mental health across the fire service community.
Justin has an exceptional track record of strategic roles in major incidents of national significance in addition to the Winter Hill moorland fire response and severe flooding in Lancashire. He was involved in the Buncefield oil storage facility in December 2005 and the Derrick Bird shooting in Cumbria in June 2010.
More recently, under Justin’s leadership, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service became the first fire and rescue service in the country to have staff trained as COVID-19 vaccinators. This has resulted in the service supporting over 500,000 vaccinations across the county in the last 12 months.
Lindsay Sielski, who works in the service’s Response and Emergency Planning team, has been awarded a British Empire Medal for her work in providing innovative ways of working with dogs in the fire and rescue service sector.
Lindsay has adopted dogs and through her dedication and training, they have qualified as International Search and Rescue dogs. Davey B was trained in only 15 months to become a search dog whilst Louie became the first cadaver fire dog in the country.
Lindsay’s work has been noticed by other fire and rescue services and she has provided training to many services across the country.
Whilst working alongside fire and rescue services, Lindsay has also built great relationships alongside partner agencies, like Lancashire Constabulary where the dogs are deployed as part of a multi-agency incident or finding a missing person.
Lindsay says of her award:
“It was amazing to find out that I have been awarded a British Empire Medal, it was really unexpected. I love working with the dogs and I wouldn’t be in the position to receive the award without the support of my colleagues. The work that I do, involves a team of people and between us all we have helped develop these dogs and help make the people of Lancashire safer.”
“I am very proud and honoured to have been recognised for my work within the fire and rescue service community over the last 25 years.
“I could not have achieved this award without the support of my colleagues in Lancashire and my colleagues at the National Fire Chiefs Council and FireFit. Together, we are continuing to make a positive difference to the communities that we serve.”
Lancashire Combined Fire Authority Chairman, County Councillor David O’Toole adds:
“I am delighted that Lindsay and Justin have been awarded these prestigious and well-deserved awards. Their hard work, dedication and innovation has seen the service continue to go from strength to strength. This was highlighted earlier this month when the service won Emergency Service of the Year at the Excellence in Fire and Emergency Awards.”
Congratulations to Daniel Thomson, a Prince’s Trust team leader at South Shore Fire Station, who has been awarded an MBE for his services to Lytham Coastguard Rescue Team.