Bravery awards for Lismore hospital staff

Published: 19th January 2011

Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan today praised the bravery and courageous actions of three staff from a Lismore hospital.

Mr Whan said John McAlister, Monique Rhodes and Shirley Brown from St. Vincent’s Private Hospital, were presented with their awards by Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Commissioner Greg Mullins at a special ceremony.

"These awards are for the selfless actions the three took during a serious fire at the St. Vincent’s Private Hospital, in Lismore on 29 April, 2010," Mr Whan said.

"John McAlister, who despite surviving an explosion and life threatening burns, successfully turned off the gas supply to the hospital boiler room, preventing further explosions and fire spread.

"The response of nurse Monique Rhodes to the explosion, and her actions to assist Mr McAlister along with co-worker Shirley Brown to turn off the gas, was a major contribution towards reducing the potential for further injury, as well as averting any more serious damage to the hospital

"Nurse Shirley Brown’s assistance in turning off the gas, as well as her quick action in caring for Mr McAlister are also to be applauded," Mr Whan said.

"The actions of these three people were extraordinary and courageous, and they fully deserve this recognition."

Fire and Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins said there was no doubt that the immediate, selfless and brave actions of John, Monique and Shirley had averted a far more serious emergency.

"The fast actions that these three took reduced the potential for further injuries to hospital staff, members of the public and responding emergency service personnel, and averted more serious damage to St Vincent's hospital.

"Actions like theirs are commendable and that is why I am very pleased to publicly acknowledge their courage," Commissioner Mullins said.