There is no doubt that at times, working in public safety and the emergency services is a tireless – and thankless – job. But at the EENA 112 Awards 2023, 10 awards showcased some of the best examples of modern-day heroes in our world.

The 112 Awards Ceremony rewards outstanding individuals and organisations mainly engaged in improving public safety across Europe.

The 112 Awards Ceremony celebrates modern-day heroes. From incredible rescues and inspirational acts by citizens and emergency services, to public safety innovations and the use of technology for good, we reward those going beyond the expected to help people in danger. We would like to congratulate all of this year’s awardees and thank them for inspiring all of us!

10 awards were given this year, ranging from brave and courageous citizens to the innovative use of technology. Our first award, the Remarkable Citizen & Emergency Teamwork Award, went to father Jairo Guilherme, and call taker Fernando Sá e Silva: a father delivered his own baby through an incredibly difficult birth, under the calm and collected guidance of call-taker Fernando.

We then moved to Luxembourg for the PSAP Upgrade Award: after thirty years of continuous service as the only call entry point in Luxembourg, it was time for an upgrade. A full upgrade of their services with no disruption was an achievement brought about by their passion and dedication for public safety.

Next, we went to Austria for the Next Generation Accessibility Award, given to DEC112 (Deaf Emergency Calling 112), for their tireless work in ensuring that everyone in Austria, regardless of disability, has access to the emergency services when they may need it.

Moving north, the story of Hans’ cardiac arrest – and how he was saved by the strong chain of survival including citizen first responders Søren, Anne and Monique and a nearby AED – was entirely deserving of our AED & CPR Award, given to Denmark’s Trygfonden (responsible for the national AED registry and Heartrunner system).

When Belgium and the Canary Islands cooperated to save a stranded Belgian hiker lost in La Gomera, in the Canary Islands, it was truly an international team effort that lead to the hiker’s rescue. Laura Rodet, Belgian call operator, and 112 Canarias received the International Cooperation for Rescue Award.

In Sweden, heroic citizen Ann-Cathrin Ericson saved the life of next-door neighbour and young mother Maja after being alerted by the Heartrunner app to respond. Through her selfless and quick response, Ann-Cathrin received the Good Samaritan Award for her life-saving actions.

And when a man who had gone skiing alone in the Finnish wilderness fell into a hole of freezing water, call-taker Sirpa Moilanen stayed on the phone for 50 minutes, simultaneously maintaining the man’s fighting spirit and expertly locating him and coordinating the rescue effort. For her amazing work, she received the Outstanding Rescue Award.

In Romania, the implementation of advanced mobile location saved a Ukrainian man’s life – lost in the forest on the border of Romania and Ukraine, and in danger from wild animals, he was located by the Romanian 112 system’s technology safe and sound. STS Romania received the AML & Rescue Award for this life-saving work.

A true unsung hero, Michalis Protopsaltis came to the aid of a boat that had capsized off the coast of Greek island Kythera, who were struggling in the ocean amongst the darkness and strong winds. By using his crane, he lifted 80 people to safety, saving their lives. For this moment of bravery and genius, Michalis received the Hero Award.

And last, but certainly not least, for decades of tireless dedication to improving public safety in Germany, Henning Schmidtpott received the Change Driver Award – a truly special, and entirely unexpected award, for Henning.

We would like to thank all of our attendees for both their attendance, and the amazing actions that lead to their award. Thank you – and see you next year!