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North Wales Fire and Rescue Service wins IWA Inspire Wales Award 2013


North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is celebrating after being unveiled as the winner of the Welsh at Work category at last night'sInstituteofWelsh Affairs Inspire Wales Awardsceremony held atCardiffCity Hall.


The fire and rescue service was one of three finalists shortlisted for the award after being selected and interviewed by a panel of three judges last month. Other finalists included Ceredigion County Council and the Royal Bank of Scotland, RBS Group.


The IWA Inspire Wales Awards, in association with the Western Mail, are aimed at raising theprofile of the contribution that Welsh men and women are making to our society, to encourage active citizenship and create role models for others.


The award in the Welsh at Work category, sponsored by The CADCentre (UK) Ltd, acknowledges the active steps taken by North Wales Fire and Rescue Service to promote and increase the use of the Welsh Language resulting in a positive impact within the organisation.


Emma Brennan from theInstituteofWelsh Affairssaid: "The quantity and quality of entries into this category was unbelievably high this year, and this is therefore a fantastic achievement for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service."


Chief Fire OfficerSimon Smithsaid he was delighted that the Service was recognised with the award and he paid tribute to staff across the organisation who are committed to the Welsh language.


"We have been working hard towards cultivating a fire and rescue service which is in tune with its Welsh public and demonstrates a courtesy and empathy towards the language and culture ofWales. Saving lives and reducing risk are at the heart of what we do - and the Welsh language issue is vital to our success," he said.


"Being a bilingual organisation enables us to provide the highest quality emergency response to the public ofNorth Wales- we often deal with vulnerable people in some very vulnerable situations where being able to provide a bilingual service can actually be a matter of life and death.


"Our staff have a very positive attitude towards the use of Welsh in our workplace, as well as in the community and the services we provide to the public. Staff who act as Welsh Champions work above and beyond their normal roles to help us to promote the use of the language and we actively encourage our employees to learn Welsh and use their skills. All this has brought us an even better standard of customer service.


"It is encouraging that we have experienced a real demand for bilingual services in our community - and the fact that the take up in receiving our home fire safety checks through the medium of Welsh has gradually risen from 4% to 20% in three years is proof of this.


"We would like to thank our partners at North Wales Police and the former Welsh Language Board for their help and support with improving our Welsh language skills."


Photo (supplied by Media Wales) caption:Gareth Griffiths, Senior Training and Development Manager, accepts the IWA Inspire Wales award on behalf of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service - presented by (on right) Ali Anwar, Managing Director of The CADCentre UK Ltd (category sponsor).

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