Alice Springs fire fighter delegate Keith Hutton was recognised in this year’s Australia Day Honours. He was awarded the Emergency Service Medal.
Keith has been a passionate volunteer with the Northern Territory Emergency Service (NTES) for more than 12 years. He’s heavily involved in the training and mentoring of other volunteers. He’s also involved in developing the rescue capabilities of the team.
Keith was instrumental in the July 2015 vertical rescue off Uluru.
An overseas tourist fell from the climb into a crevasse and required vertical rescue assistance to be retrieved.
The tourist had life-threatening injuries from the fall. His survival was directly attributable to the assistance provided by the rescue team. As the Rescue Team Leader, Keith’s calm attitude gave the team the confidence to complete the most difficult rescue they’ve ever performed.
“On the rock, all I had was our gear, our collective experience and a plan in my head for a dedicated team with varying experience,” Keith said.
“It was fantastic team work in trying conditions that had a good result on the day. We couldn’t ask for anything more and it’s why we do what we do. This event cemented in my mind, the need for greater cooperation between all our agencies.”
Keith is constantly looking for areas of improvement in rescue operations. He contributes many personal hours to extensively researching new techniques and equipment; all to improve response and performance, and lower the risk for all rescue operators.
As a career fire fighter, Keith has worked to bring these two groups together. To improve and share knowledge of each Service’s capabilities with great success.