On March 6, 2009, Paris Nicolaides rescued a woman from a burning hotel room, in Sioux Lookout, Ontario. Working at the front desk, Mr. Nicolaides heard the fire alarm go off and proceeded to evacuate the hotel guests. Hearing screams from the room that was on fire, Mr. Nicolaides crawled in and located a badly burnt woman. After bringing her outside, Mr. Nicolaides returned with Ontario Provincial Police Constable Jason Spooner to search the room for the woman's boyfriend. They braved the intense heat and flames to confirm that no one else was in the room. The woman was brought to the hospital, where she was treated for smoke inhalation and burns.
Peter Edward Paquette, M.B. Ottawa, Ontario
On December 9, 2010, OC Transpo bus driver Peter Paquette rescued three people from a burning building, in Ottawa, Ontario. While driving on his bus route, Mr. Paquette noticed smoke coming from the upstairs window of a three-storey apartment complex. He stopped his bus and made his way through the smoke-filled entranceway of the building, escorted an elderly tenant out, and then ran up to the top floor. Struggling to breathe, he knocked on all the doors on each floor to alert the residents, some of whom were reluctant to leave. Thanks to the actions of Mr. Paquette, everyone made it safely outside.
Kathryn Whittaker, M.B. Ottawa, Ontario
On July 13, 2007, Kathryn Whittaker, captain of the sail-training vessel Fair Jeanne risked her life to rescue her crew and 20 cadets when their engine caught fire on Lake Ontario. About an hour after dropping anchor, thick smoke was observed coming from the engine room. After finding the source of the smoke, Captain Whittaker was unable to extinguish the flames. She then shut the door to the engine room to starve the flames of oxygen, but the smoke continued to billow out. She commanded the crew to shut off the engine and to gather up on deck. Captain Whittaker went down to the charthouse through the thick, black smoke to retrieve a hand-held GPS. She dispatched a mayday call on the VHF radio, and provided the vessel's exact location. Shortly afterwards, several search and rescue teams and firefighting craft arrived on the scene; all those aboard the Fair Jeanne were saved.
FACT SHEET ON THE DECORATIONS FOR BRAVERY
The Decorations for Bravery were created in 1972. They recognize people who risk their lives and choose to defy their own instinct of survival to try to save a loved one or a perfect stranger whose life is in immediate danger.
The three levels of the Decorations for Bravery reflect the degree to which the recipients put themselves at risk:
-- The Cross of Valour (C.V.) recognizes acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril.-- The Star of Courage (S.C.) recognizes acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril.-- The Medal of Bravery (M.B.) recognizes acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances.
ELIGIBILITY AND NOMINATION
Anyone is free to propose the name of a person who has risked injury or death in an attempt to rescue another person. The incident need not have taken place in Canada, and the rescuer need not be Canadian, but Canadians or Canadian interests must be involved. The decorations may be awarded posthumously.
Nominations must be made within two years of the incident, or within two years after a public entity, including a court, a quasi-judicial tribunal or a coroner, has concluded its review of the circumstances surrounding the incident or act of bravery.
For more information on the Decorations for Bravery, please visit www.gg.ca/honours.
Rideau Hall Press Office