Guidance Notes for Nominations

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 click here to contact us.

Eligibility for Nomination


  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 Overseas Bravery Awards page).
  3. The rescue and/or resuscitation can take place in any part of the world
  4. There is no age limit


  1. Professionals doing their duty i.e. fire fighters on duty rescuing people from burning buildings, doctors, nurses and paramedics effecting a resuscitation.
    Note 1: If there is risk involved in the rescue which is outside of that expected in carrying out the job, a nomination should be sent for consideration by the committee.
    Note 2: If the rescue occurs when off duty then the expectations do not apply – a nomination should be made.
  2. Where another Society (see these links) is considering the same case or has already made an award then advise us of this situation. We will contact them to assess whether we will consider an award.
  3. Acts of bravery in Merseyside, Lancashire, Cheshire or the Port of Liverpool should be sent to the Liverpool Shipwreck and Humane Society (see UK Bravery Award Organisations 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 a late application an explanation for the delay should be made.

What Kinds of Acts of Bravery Does the Committee Consider?


  1. The level of award relates to the level of danger (ie risk) so please describe the circumstances as clearly as possible. For consideration of an award, the Society will evaluate the level of risk and this will inform their decision as to the appropriate award Our highest award is the silver medal followed by (in decreasing order of risk), bronze medal, testimonial on vellum, testimonial on parchment and certificate of commendation.
  2. A successful resuscitation will qualify for the award of a Resuscitation Certificate; an unsuccessful resuscitation will qualify for the award of a Certificate of Commendation.
  3. The incident does not have to have had a successful outcome to be considered
  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
  • could preparations have been 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 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 and do not take into consideration the level of risk (the only Society award that does so).

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 or CPR for 10 minutes before paramedics took over, after which life was restored by them
  • the successful resuscitation can include the process of clearing airways and further action, such as mouth to mouth resuscitation or external cardiac massage

NB. Those who are professional doctors, nurses and paramedics, are not normally eligible for an award if on duty. (Note: if there is risk to the resuscitator then a nomination should be made as this may qualify for a risk based award).

Ready to make a nomination?

Having read the above guidance notes and believing the person you are nominating is eligible, please complete the Nomination Form and send to the Society. Please click here to download the Nomination Form.