Past Winners Urge Control Room Stars to Seize the Chance to Shine in National Awards
Entries for the APD Control Room Awards 2020 are open until 6th January and are aimed at celebrating outstanding achievement, commitment and bravery by control room employees working for a variety of vertical markets.
A control room lifesaver has urged colleagues across the UK to seize the opportunity to promote the vital work of the unsung heroes on the hidden front line of the emergency services.
Megan Brunt was one of the stars of the 2019 APD Control Room Awards, with judges hailing her as a “credit to her force and community”.
And now, as entries open for the 2020 awards, she has urged members of the control rooms community to celebrate the life-changing and life-saving work they do in the service of society.
Avon and Somerset Police Call Handler Megan said: “I was really happy to receive my award and I accepted it on behalf of my team. I was so happy to be at the awards with the other nominees because they had all done amazing things. It made me feel proud of what I do.
“I urge people to get their nominations in now. It’s good to be recognised for what we do and the people we help. We’re the first point of contact for the public, so our role is an absolutely vital part of the emergency services.”
Megan won the Special Recognition Award for Bravery and Courage in the 2019 awards after putting herself in harm’s way to help save the life of a teenage girl at risk of suicide and prevent a drink driver from endangering motorway users. The judges said Megan’s actions showed “considerable courage and remarkable initiative”.
Now, nominations for the APD Control Room Awards 2020 are open and Megan encouraged members of control room teams to make an extra effort to get involved.
The APD Control Room Awards are run by APD Communications, which develops critical, life-saving software used by the police and other emergency services organisations across the UK, as well as transport and aviation operations nationally and internationally.
Now in their third year, the awards are the only accolades of their kind to recognise the critical, behind-the-scenes work of individuals and teams in this way.
The 2019 awards attracted almost 400 nominations from more than 60 organisations dedicated to serving and protecting the public.
Another 2019 winner was Mandy Cassidy, who worked as a 999 Call Handler at the London Ambulance Service when she won the Award for Services to the Public.
Mandy’s son was killed in a knife attack in September 2001, aged 18, and she now plays a key role in the service’s anti-knife crime work in secondary schools, talking to 11 and 12-year-olds about the dangers of knives.
The judges said Mandy “turned a terrible personal tragedy into remarkable public service” and she “embodies the public service spirit of emergency services control rooms”.
Mandy, who now works as an Emergency Response Dispatcher, sending ambulance crews to wherever they are needed, said: “It meant a lot to me to win and the awards mean people in control rooms are getting the recognition they deserve. It’s wonderful to have these awards because control employees are not forgotten and it makes you proud of what you do.
“If you feel someone has done something remarkable, don’t hesitate to put them forward. If they have gone the extra mile, they should be nominated.”
The 2019 awards also saw the Team of the Year accolade presented to Durham Constabulary’s B Relief control room team.
The judges said the team “demonstrated exceptional team spirit in very difficult circumstances, technically and operationally”, providing vital support to a neighbouring force and its communities while continuing to deliver services to the Durham Constabulary and local people.
Inspector Kevin Salter, who was in charge of the winning team, said: “These awards are vital in recognising people who an unbelievable job.
“When my team won this award, they were totally ovewhelmed by it all and it went a long way to motivating them and making them feel appreciated and rewarded for what they do.
“I would encourage every supervisor to nominate their teams to ensure they get the recognition they deserve. There is nothing else like these awards that recognise control room employees and that is why they are so important.”
APD Commercial Director Rhiannon Beeson said previous winners of the Control Room Awards illustrate perfectly the extraordinary professionalism, dedication, compassion and resilience that employees in control rooms demonstrate on a daily basis.
Beeson said: “Their stories are both humbling and inspiring and we feel privileged to have the opportunity to give them the recognition they so richly deserve.
“They clearly feel the Control Rooms Awards perform an important role and are keen to encourage other members of the control rooms community to participate in them.
“They provide a valuable opportunity to promote the amazing but largely unseen work of employees in these operations and the vital service they provide to members of the public and society as a whole.”
Entries for the APD Control Room Awards 2020 are open until 6th January and are aimed at celebrating outstanding achievement, commitment and bravery by control room employees working for emergency services and public safety organisations, rail, transport and other critical control rooms. The awards ceremony will take place at Jury’s Inn, Hinckley Island, Leicestershire, on 5th March 2020.
Leading technology provider telent Technology Services is once again the Platinum Partner of the awards. telent specialises in the effective operation of critical national infrastructure and provides frontline operational technology solutions to police, fire, ambulance and other public safety organisations.
Barry Zielinski, telent’s Operations and Services Director, said:
“The Control Room Awards are a fantastic celebration of the incredible and absolutely vital work of the control room staff from emergency services and critical control operations.
“We are proud to support these awards and to play our part in providing such a valuable platform for the unsung heroes in control rooms the length and breadth of the country.”
The full list of APD Control Room Awards 2020 categories is:
- Award for Services to the Public
- Lifetime Achievement Award
- Control Room Dispatcher of the Year
- Leader of the Year
- Control Room Call Taker of the Year
- Community Champion Award
- Young Achiever of the Year
- Special Recognition for Bravery and Courage Award
- Team of the Year
- Control Room Ambassador of the Year
- The John Gilhooly Unsung Hero Award (dedicated posthumously to John Gilhooly who served in the Scottish Ambulance Service control room for almost 30 years)