Watch Manager Bernadette (Bernie) McKiernan, who was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for her exceptional service to her community during The Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021, has been invited to attend the Coronation of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey.
As an On-Call firefighter at Snaith Fire Station, Bernie joined the Humberside Fire and Rescue Service in 2003. Despite being 47 years old at the time and concerned about passing all the tests, she received support from her family, friends, the community, the Snaith Crew and ultimately succeeded. Now, at the age of 67, Bernie is one of the oldest serving female operational firefighters in the country, and as the Watch Manager at Snaith Fire Station, she is committed to keeping her local fire station at the heart of the community by organising and attending events that promote fire safety.
Bernie's dedication to her work was evident when Snaith was significantly flooded in early 2020, causing disruption to local roads and Network Rail routes for several weeks, and around 93 properties were flooded in the Snaith and Cowick area. Bernie worked tirelessly, providing local residents with information, supporting partner agencies, and helping the most vulnerable receive their medication. She went above and beyond by collecting food, clothing, and other donations for those who lost their possessions in the flooding, while still maintaining her commitment to responding to 999 calls.
Expressing her excitement over the invitation to attend the King's Coronation, Bernie said, “It’s such an honour to be invited to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and be a part of history representing Humberside Fire and Rescue Service. I’m always encouraging others to support their community by becoming an On-Call firefighter, it’s so rewarding and provides other skills and training that can benefit you.”
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Niall McKiniry praised Bernie's dedication and passion for her work, saying, “Bernie’s drive and passion for the Fire Service is an inspiration to all of us, and she is well respected amongst her crew, colleagues across the Service, and in her local community. Bernie is an ambassador for On-Call Fire Stations in the Humber area. Her endless hard work, enthusiasm, commitment, and loyalty contribute to keeping the community of Snaith safe and well.”