Your browser is unsupported and may have security vulnerabilities! Upgrade to a newer browser to experience this site in all it's glory.
Skip to main content

It is with pride and honour that Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) congratulate Bernadette Mckiernan on being awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) and Tony Clark on being awarded a Queen's Fire Service Medal (QFSM) during The Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021.

Bernie getting her medal cropped

In 2003, Bernie joined HFRS as an On-Call firefighter at Snaith Fire Station. Now in the role of Watch Manager, Bernie strives to keep her local fire station at the heart of the community by organising and attending events to promote the importance of fire safety.

Her experience, determination and hard work showed when Snaith was significantly flooded at the start of 2020. Approximately 93 properties were flooded in the Snaith and Cowick area. The flooding caused disruption on local roads and Network Rail routes for several weeks.


Bernie worked around the clock to help those affected by the flooding, providing local residents with information, supporting partner agencies, and helping the most vulnerable receive their medication. Bernie worked tirelessly, going above and beyond by collecting food, clothing and other donations for those who had lost their possessions in the flooding, as well as maintaining her commitment to responding to 999 calls.

Now aged 65, Bernie shows no signs of retiring any time soon and we believe her to be one of the oldest serving female operational firefighters in the country.

Niall McKiniry, Director of Service Improvement said, “Bernie’s drive and passion for the Fire Service is inspiring 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 contributes to keeping the community of Snaith safe and well.”

Tony joined HFRS in 2011, as an On-Call firefighter at Howden Fire Station. He became Watch Manager three years ago and is passionate about demonstrating the benefits of On-Call firefighting for the community and employer alike. Working at Howdens Joinery as their Health and Safety Manager, he has been the link for a growing partnership between both organisations. Demonstrating that the role of an On-Call Firefighter benefits the employer, by having staff who are trained in first aid, develop teamworking skills and remain calm under pressure.

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, a sub group of The Humber Local Resilience Forum (LRF) was formed on 31 March 2020 to specifically look after the large task of handling all the personal protective equipment (PPE) for the Humber region. In need of the right location, with the right staff to manage the large quantities coming in, he used his own initiative and quickly found a suitable location belonging to his primary employer, Howdens Joinery. By May 2021, On-Call firefighters at Howden Fire Station had managed and delivered over 3,000,000 items of PPE and medical supplies for the Humber region.

Chris Blacksell, Chief Fire Officer said, “I am incredibly proud of the continued dedication our staff have shown throughout to help bring an end to this pandemic. Tony’s dedication and passion for the Fire Service and the community is inspiring and he is well respected amongst his crew."

They are shining stars and an inspiration to us all.

  • East Riding of Yorkshire
  • Hull
  • North Lincolnshire
  • North East Lincolnshire