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Higgins and Langley Memorial Award
State of North Carolina
Office of the Governor
For Release: IMMEDIATE Contact: Jill Warren Lucas
Date: May 27, 2005 Phone: 919/733-5612
RALEIGH - Gov. Mike Easley today announced that North Carolina's swiftwater rescue teams, which were deployed during last fall's hurricanes, will receive the highest international award in their field. Coordinated by the N.C. Division of Emergency Management, the teams will receive the Higgins & Langley Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Swiftwater Rescue.
"During the 2004 huricane season, our state's swiftwater rescue teams saved more than 1,110 lives," Easley said. "I am proud of our dedicated rescue personnel who put themselves in harm's way to keep their communities safe. This award is a fitting tribute to their hard work."
Easley nominated the teams for the award in April. It will be presented at 8 p.m. PST today (11 p.m. EST) during the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) Conference in Oakland, CA. It will be accepted by Mike Guzo, search and rescue coordinator for the Division of Emergency Management.
Flooding is the leading cause of weather-related death worldwide. The Higgins & Langley Memorial Awards were established in 1993 by members of the Swiftwater Rescue Committee of NASAR in honor of Earl Higgins, a writer and filmmaker who lost his life in 1980 while attempting to rescue a child from a flood-swollen river, and Jeffrey Langley, a firefighter-paramedic who lost his life in a helicopter incident in 1993.
"This award recognizes the preparedness, teamwork, and dedication of our swiftwater rescue teams under extreme conditions during the seven storms of 2004," said Bryan Beatty, secretary of the Department of Crime Control & Public Safety, which leads the state's disaster response efforts. "I am especially proud of our Emergency Management and National Guard personnel. Their support and coordination was vital to the success of the swiftwater rescue teams."
The Higgins & Langley Memorial Awards are supported by NASAR, with funding provided by corporate sponsors, including CFS Press of Asheville, Rescue 3 International of Sonora, Calif., and CMC Rescue of Santa Barbara, Calif., as well as individual donors, including the families and friends of Earl Higgins and Jeffrey Langley.
2005 HIGGINS & LANGLEY MEMORIAL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN SWIFTWATER RESCUE 2004 Hurricane Response in North Carolina
N.C. Division of Emergency Management (NCEM)
N.C. National Guard
The following are locally-based swiftwater rescue teams (with county in parenthesis):
Alexander Rescue Squad (Alexander)
Apex Fire Department (Wake)
Arr-Mac Water Response Team (Wayne)
Ash-Rand Rescue Squad (Randolph)
Asheville Fire & Rescue (Buncombe)
Burke County Emergency Services
Charlotte Fire Department (Mecklenburg)
Cleveland County Urban Search and Rescue Swiftwater Division
Gaston County Emergency Medical Services
Greensboro Fire Department (Guilford)
Haywood County Swiftwater Rescue Team
Hope Mills Fire Department Search and Rescue Team (Cumberland)
Johnston County Sheriff's Office Swiftwater Rescue Team
Lumberton Emergency Rescue Unit (Robeson)
Midland Volunteer Fire & Rescue, Inc. (Cabarrus)
Monroe Fire Department (Union)
Mooresville Rescue Squad (Iredell)
N.C. Canine Emergency Response Team (Wake/statewide)
Pender County Emergency Medical Services & Rescue
Pitt County Sheriff's Office Water Emergency Response Team
Rocky Mount Fire Department Swiftwater Emergency Response Team (Edgecombe)
REDS Team (Wake)
Roxboro Fire Department (Person)
Shepherds Fire Department (Iredell)
South Orange Rescue Squad, Technical Rescue Team (Orange)
Skyland Fire Department (Buncombe)
Thomasville Rescue Squad (Davidson)
Troutman Fire & Rescue (Iredell)
Winston Salem Rescue Squad (Forsyth)
The Higgins-Langley Memorial Award for Excellence in Swiftwater Rescue was established in 1993 by members of the Flood and Swiftwater Rescue Committee of the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR). It is named in honor of Earl Higgins, a writer and filmmaker who lost his life in 1980 while attempting to rescue a child being swept down the flood swollen Los Angles River, and Jeffrey Langley, a firefighter-paramedic with the Los Angeles County Fire Department who lost his life in a helicopter incident in 1993. The awards are presented annually at the National Association for Search and Rescue Conference.
The Higgins-Langley Awards honor outstanding achievements in the field of swiftwater-flood rescue. In addition to team efforts and singular incidents or acts of heroism, rescue professionals who have been dedicated to developing and implementing swiftwater rescue training programs are also recognized. At present, all nominations are stringently reviewed and substantiated by a seven member board who serve as the directors of the award. This board includes members Nancy Rigg, a noted advocate, filmmaker, and writer on the discipline who was the fiancé of Earl Higgins; and Karen Langley Stephen, mother of Firefighter-Paramedic Jeff Langley
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