Harshad Saujani, a Community Educator at Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, has been awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to fire safety.
The fantastic news was announced on 2 June, where over 1,000 individuals were awarded as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, which recognises the achievements and service of people across the UK.
Harshad joined the service in 2005 as a Community Educator, a role which has evolved over the years. Community Educators work to reduce fire risk and deliver a high level of targeted intervention to those most at risk. They do this through engaging with the community, undertaking home visits, providing advice and guidance on how to reduce the risk of fire in the home, and supporting the community with initiatives, events and school visits.
The job has changed, in that we do much more work now in targeting vulnerable individuals to ensure their safety”, Harshad said. “It’s not just a work to me. It’s a passion, a hobby, and it brings me great pleasure to know I have helped others.
Over his career, Harshad has completed 3,632 home safety checks. He has also visited hundreds of schools, proactively designing and implementing campaigns to educate children on fire and road safety.
Alongside this, Harshad has been involved in a number of campaigns over the years, in particular supporting seasonal safety during Eid, Navratri and Diwali. He led a high-profile fire safety campaign for the use of Diya candles, providing tailored education and advice whilst considering cultural needs.
Previously, he also led and innovated a collaborative team, ‘Highfields Blues’. Working with Leicestershire Police and East Midlands Ambulance Service, the team aimed to educate residents of Highfields – an area with a high rate of 999 calls – on when and how they should use the emergency services. This work saw emergency calls in the area fall by 7%.
Working for the community is in my blood. I feel that this is a great recognition not only for myself, but for my team too – I could not have reached this point without them. We work hard to make a difference to make people safer. It’s all down to teamwork, not only in my team, but with everyone across the Service.
Outside of work, Harshad has worked in the community in some form for 40 years. He has been a Magistrate for 35 years, and also volunteers in faith groups and community groups within Leicester.
Callum Faint, Chief Fire and Rescue Officer at Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “I would like to congratulate Harshad on this fantastic achievement, which is thoroughly deserved. He is extremely passionate about the work he does in supporting our communities, and I would like to thank him for all he has done not only to support Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, but to benefit our local communities.”
Notes to Editors:
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About the Service
Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service provides emergency response, prevention and protection services from 20 stations across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Its headquarters is based in Birstall, Leicester.
During 2019/20, we attended a total of 8,541 emergency incidents, including 2,079 fires and 748 road traffic collisions. A total of 7,274 Home Safety Checks were completed and we fitted 4,720 smoke alarms. 305 schools were visited as part of the Service’s schools programme, delivering fire and road safety education to 26,218 pupils. Staff organised or took part in 1,218 community safety activities, totalling over 11,000 hours of time engaging with members of the public.
The Service’s prevention, education, enforcement and inspection programmes have resulted in significant reductions in the number of incidents. In the last ten years, fire-related incidents have reduced by over 30 percent.
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