A West Midlands firefighter will today visit Buckingham Palace after being awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list. The award was given for his services to national and international search and rescue.
Group Commander Sean Moore (49), who has spent most of his career based in Coventry where he was brought up, says he is “humbled and honoured” to have been awarded.
West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service outlined why he received the award and his reaction to the news when he found out.
His OBE recognises his dedication to search and rescue which, over more than two decades, has seen him deployed to disaster zones around the world.
Sean was among the personnel who responded to Hurricane Rita in the US, and earthquakes in Turkey, Indonesia, Haiti, New Zealand, Japan and Nepal. Last year he coordinated the UK response to flooding in Bosnia.
His humanitarian work has also included trips to Romania, Bosnia, South Asia, China, the Middle East and Tanzania. In 2014 he coordinated fire and rescue service resources supporting logistics for the UK response to the Ebola crisis.
Married to Sam, with two daughters Katie (18) and Hollie (15), Sean has lived in Brandon near Coventry for 23 years. He went to Cardinal Wiseman secondary school.
He said: “I feel very humbled and honoured to be recognised with the OBE. It was a total surprise – I had to read the letter several times before I understood what it was! I only wish my mum, who passed away five weeks ago, could have been here to see it.
“I see my search and rescue work as an extension of what firefighters do every day. I simply enjoy helping people, especially at their greatest hour of need.
“I get a great deal of satisfaction from working with some of the most highly motivated and professional firefighters and rescue personnel, both in the West Midlands and across the country.
“I have witnessed many distressing situations across the world, where people have quite literally lost everything. It never fails to amaze me how we can, at very short notice, mobilise and deploy our teams to support the rescue and humanitarian missions and do whatever we can to relieve people’s suffering.”
Phil Loach, Chief Fire Officer for the West Midlands, said: “Sean’s OBE is fitting recognition for someone who has put service to communities at home and abroad before personal aspiration.
“Sean has made a number of personal sacrifices to undertake his search and rescue work, and I’m sure that his colleagues and people throughout the West Midlands will join me in congratulating him.”
Sean joined West Midlands Fire Service in 1989 after serving in the Royal Navy. He went on to be based at Binley, Canley, Foleshill, and Coventry community fire stations. He has also worked in contingency planning, recruit training and on a number of specialist projects for the service.
Three years ago he began his current secondment to the Chief Fire Officers’ Association’s (CFOA) National Resilience and Assurance Team. He provides guidance and support to fire and rescue services, other agencies and the Government on national resilience issues. These include Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), CBRN, high-volume pumping, flood response and international response.
He is a Capability Advisor for 20 UK-based USAR teams, and also National Coordinator for the UK International Search and Rescue (UKISAR) team supporting 15 fire and rescue services.
Previously, Sean was seconded to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) and was part of the project team that introduced Urban Search and Rescue across the UK fire and rescue sector following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US.
He is currently a trainer and evaluator on various courses and exercises for the EU. For the last eight years he has been the Africa, Europe and Middle East representative on the UN International Search and Rescue Advisory Group.