Port Macquarie firefighters Brett Slavin and Michael Johnsen have been honoured for their off-duty bravery after the pair pulled a man from a burning car and performed resuscitation until assistance arrived.
The men were on their way to work in late 2017, when they were flagged down by motorists gathered around a smoke filled car along Ocean Drive in Port Macquarie.
They were alerted a man was trapped inside the vehicle and immediately went into action. Mr Slavin smashed a window to gain access and Mr Johnsen helped him remove the man from the fire.
"I grabbed some safety equipment, gained entry by smashing the back and then front window," said Mr Slavin.
"There was a gentleman with quite severe burns. On seeing that I grabbed the patient and dragged him to an area of safety with Mick.
"We went into resuscitation because he had quite severe burns and performed that until the arrival of the ambulance."
Mr Slavin said he was lucky to have Mr Johnsen step in and manage the man's burns until emergency services arrived.
"You lose track of time. As we removed him to an area of safety, I did burns management and we were resuscitating him all the time," said Mr Johnsen.
"I grabbed the (resus) gear, put it together and handed Brett the gear."
We're not anyone special, we just happened to encounter the situation and we had resources we were able to use.Mr Johnsen
For their efforts the men were honoured with a Commissioner's Resuscitation Award and an Individual Commendation for Meritorious Service at the annual St Florian's Day ceremony in May.
The pair are no strangers to fire danger with Mr Slavin's role as a senior regional instructor and Mr Johnsen, a rescue instructor with North Command in Fire and Rescue NSW.
FRNSW deputy commissioner Mal Connellan said NSW held one of the world's most highly skilled and regarded firefighting and rescue services.
"They exemplify the proud legacy of courageous service that is the hallmark of NSW firefighters," said Mr Connellan.
"We thank not just the people receiving awards but all firefighters who perform valuable life-saving work on a daily basis.
"Each of the people commended is a credit to both FRNSW and the communities they protect and serve."
St Florian is depicted as the 'patron saint of firefighters' and the annual awards recognise those who have shown bravery in emergency situations.
Mr Slavin and Mr Johnsen said it was humbling to receive the recognition.
"It is humbling, we just resourced with what we had and did the best we could at the time," said Mr Slavin.
At the end of the day the priority is the life at risk and there was a life at risk.Mr Slavin
"I don't think there's any difference between us and the other people there," said Mr Johnsen.
"They had attempted to gain entry to the car but they just didn't have the equipment that we were fortunate to have.
"It's nice and humbling but it's also an uncomfortable feeling getting the recognition because we just happened to be there.
"The members of the public there that tried their best, I don't think they should go unrecognised."
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