The vital contributions of 10 Pilbara employers in their support of fire and emergency volunteers have been acknowledged at this year’s Department of Fire and Emergency Volunteer Employer Recognition Awards. More than 80 organisations were honoured for supporting staff who volunteer in areas such as the State Emergency Service, Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service, Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services, Bush Fire Service, Marine Rescue WA and the State-Wide Operations Responses Division. Among the winners were Fortescue Metals Group’s Hedland operations, Karratha Taxi Trucks, Hedland Plumbing, Matera Electrical Services (Woodside Karratha gas plant), Port Hedland’s Specialised Force and Newman’s BHP Emergency Services. Emergency Services Minister Reece Whitby said protecting communities would not be possible without the support of the employers. “It’s especially important to recognise small businesses and self-employed volunteers who often close their doors during emergencies as they work to keep the community safe,” he said. “It has been a difficult 12 months but it’s heartening to see such a significant rise in the number of employers supporting emergency services in WA and I thank them for their efforts.” Rio Tinto’s Cape Lambert, Robe Valley and Karratha operations were also recognised as strong supporters of volunteers. Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Simon Trott said he was proud of the contributions of dedicated volunteers. “These are everyday people who step up to help those in need, often in emergency situations, to make the Pilbara a better, safer place,” he said. Exmouth Pharmacy was also recognised at the awards.