King's Birthday Honours List: Hampshire firefighter "honoured" after being recognised for public safety

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A brave firefighter has been honoured for services to public safety in the King’s birthday honours list.

Paul Francis, Community Development and Safeguarding Manager at Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS), has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM). He said: “I feel deeply honoured and incredibly proud to receive this award.

“I have always maintained a passion for promoting and advocating the human rights, health and wellbeing of vulnerable individuals to enable them to live safely, free from all forms of harm and abuse. However, I think it is also crucially important to acknowledge the hard work and dedication from colleagues and teams, both within the Service and throughout our external partners, who support and ensure that our prevention work is embedded in everything we do to keep our communities safe.”

Paul Francis, firefighter, has been recognised for his services to public safety and awarded a British Empire Medal. Picture: HIWFRSPaul Francis, firefighter, has been recognised for his services to public safety and awarded a British Empire Medal. Picture: HIWFRS
Paul Francis, firefighter, has been recognised for his services to public safety and awarded a British Empire Medal. Picture: HIWFRS | HIWFRS

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Mr Francis has worked for HIWFRS for nearly 22 years, being an on-call firefighter for 12 years and holding a variety of roles in the organisation. He has worked in the prevention team for the past nine years, starting within the departments as a community safety officer. He then became a safeguarding lead officer, and was appointed community development and safeguarding manager.

Before becoming a firefighter, Mr Francis worked in the health sector, primarily in social care and mental health services. “I believe it is of critical importance that HIWFRS, as a Community Safety Partner, makes the most of every opportunity to ensure all prevention and early intervention activities are effectively delivered, and by doing so helping vulnerable members of the community avoid reaching crisis point,” he added.

Chief Fire Officer Neil Odin said: “I am delighted that Paul’s hard work and dedication to safeguarding others has been recognised with this Honour. As a Service we interact with many vulnerable people and are well placed to help them access support services. Paul’s drive and focus on the needs and rights of the individual has meant we are always seeking to make that difference, to support the delivery of ‘person centred’ outcomes for the people we engage with so they can live safer and more resilient lives. He is an inspiration to us all.”

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