Royal Humane Society. Recognising Bravery.

Royal Humane Society

Instituted 1774 and Incorporated by Royal Charter in 1959

Patron:  Her Majesty the Queen

President:  HRH Princess Alexandra, the Hon Lady Ogilvy KG GCVO

Registered Charity Number 231469

50/51 Temple Chambers
3/7 Temple Avenue
London EC4Y 0HP
Telephone : 020 7936 2942
Click Here to send us an e-mail

Guidance Notes for Nominations

Revised February 2008

Return to Make a Nomination page

Anyone can make a nomination to us but we do ask for corroboration from the police, ambulance service, fire service, coastguard or an eye-witness.

Nominations from serving police or fire services officers should be processed and authorised via the CC's office or Awards Department at HQ. They'll send the authorised nomination on to us and, from then on, we'll liaise with their designated point of contact.

We cannot accept information that comes from newspapers or magazine articles only.

If, after reading these notes, you are still in doubt, please e-mail us or telephone us on 020 7936 2942.

Eligibility for nomination

General

  1. Anyone of any nationality can be nominated for an award
  2. A British person must be involved in the incident, either as the rescuer or rescued. This also applies to resuscitations.  Citizens of other countries should address bravery nominations to their own Humane Societies (see Links Page - Overseas bravery awards)
  3. The rescue can take place in any part of the world
  4. There is no age limit

Exceptions

  1. Normally, spouses, partners and close family members who save each other. However, the committee will consider whether exceptions to this can be made
  2. Parents who save their children BUT children who save their parents will be considered
  3. Professionals doing their duty i.e. fire fighters on duty rescuing people from burning buildings, doctors, nurses and paramedics effecting a resuscitation
  4. Where a Sovereign's Award nomination may be made to the Cabinet Office.  We will await the Cabinet Office's decision before considering the case. This exception does not apply to Chief Constables' awards, where we will also consider the case, if it meets our other criteria
  5. Where another Society (see Links Page) is considering the same case or has already made an award
  6. Acts of bravery in Merseyside, Lancashire, Cheshire or the Port of Liverpool should be sent to the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society (see Links Page)

Is there a time limit?

    Six months is the normal time limit for a nomination, but the Committee will consider older cases, if circumstances are exceptional, such as a delay because of legal proceedings. When submitting an application an explanation for the delay should be made.

What kinds of acts bravery does the Committee consider?

General

  1. For consideration for our silver and bronze medal awards or for a Testimonial on Vellum or Parchment, the nominee must have put his/her own life at risk to save, or attempt to save, someone else. The level of award relates to the level of danger so please describe the circumstances as clearly as possible
  2. For consideration for a Certificate of Commendation, the nominee must have made a significant contribution to the saving or attempted saving of a life, though their own life was not necessarily at risk
  3. The incident does not have to have had a successful outcome
  4. The Society makes no judgement on the circumstances leading up to the incident

Assessment of bravery

When assessing the level of bravery and, thus, the level of award, the Committee will take into account:

  • the degree of risk to the nominee’s life
  • the duration of that risk
  • whether nominees chose to act in the face of a known danger or found themselves caught up in a dangerous set of circumstances
  • persistence
  • the impact of the physical surroundings, such as darkness, coldness and the general confusion
  • whether there was advanced warning of the danger and preparations could be made

Detailed guidance for completing forms

1. Rescue from water or ice

Parameters for rescues from boats

In coastal waters of the United Kingdom, awards for rescues from boats are within the jurisdiction of the RNLI.  Nominations are considered by us only if the nominee enters the water from the boat and a rescue is attempted by swimming, and/or if a resuscitation is involved.

In inland waters (rivers, canals, lakes, estuaries, docks, ponds etc) or in the open sea, all boat rescues are within our jurisdiction.

Outside British waters, boat rescues of, or by, British citizens are also considered.

All other cases

We consider all other cases of rescue from drowning.

Factors that will be taken into consideration, which you should describe in detail in your nomination, include:

  • the degree and duration of danger
  • the distance swum
  • the conditions of the water including tide, current, waves and temperature
  • the nature of the sea/river/canal bed if wading is involved
  • the effectiveness of buoyancy aids, if used
  • the numbers involved and the extent to which the nominee may be professionally trained

2. Rescue from fire in buildings, vehicles, trains, aircraft etc

Many factors will be taken into consideration, which you should describe in detail, including:

  • the degree and duration of danger
  • the extent proximity and intensity of smoke and flames that the nominee encounters
  • the time exposed to both
  • the extent of burns on the nominee's body and clothing
  • whether or not the nominee needs treatment for smoke inhalation

3. Rescues from bridges, high buildings, cliffs etc

Many factors will be taken into consideration, which you should describe in detail, including:

  • the degree and duration of danger
  • whether there is a safety parapet / railing / wall and its height / extent
  • the position of saved/attempted saved and of the the nominee in relation to it
  • the approximate height of the bridge/building above the water/ground
  • whether the nominee’s arms were over or through the railings in reaching for or holding onto the person in danger
  • the stature, weight and strength of the saved/attempted saved person and how much of a struggle was involved
  • the weather and light conditions

4. Resuscitation

Resuscitation Certificates are awarded for the successful restoration of life.

Amongst other things, the following must be verifiable:

  • restored’s breathing and pulse have stopped.  It is not enough that they have lost consciousness alone
  • the resuscitation must be successful or the restorer's efforts must contribute to success e.g. the restorer carried out MMR for 10 minutes before paramedics took over, after which life was restored by them
  • the successful resuscitation has gone beyond the first aid process of clearing airways and includes further action, such as mouth to mouth resuscitation or external cardiac massage

NB. Those who are medically trained, ie. doctors, nurses and paramedics, are not normally eligible.

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