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Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards For Outstanding Achievement In Swiftwater Rescue

Higgins and Langley Award The Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Swiftwater Rescue were established in 1993 by members of the Swiftwater Rescue Committee of the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) in honor of Earl Higgins, a writer and filmmaker who lost his life in 1980 while attempting to rescue a child being swept down the flood swollen Los Angeles River, and Jeffrey Langley, a firefighter paramedic with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, who lost his life in a helicopter incident in 1993.

Prior to his death, Langley was working with NASARs Swiftwater Rescue Committee, the Los Angeles River Rescue Task Force, and Higgins's fiancee, Nancy Rigg, to develop multi agency swiftwater flood rescue program in Los Angeles County.

Because of growing concerns nationally about the ability of rescue agencies to manage water rescues in adverse conditions like flooding, as well as the common river rescue bond between Earl Higgins and Jeff Langley, NASARs Swiftwater Rescue Committee determined that national awards honoring swiftwater flood rescue would be an appropriate legacy honor Jeffrey Langley and Earl Higgins. It was at this point that NASAR's Swiftwater Rescue committee contacted Jeff Langley's mother, Karen Langley, and Nancy Rigg, to gain their support.

The Higgins and Langley Awards honor outstanding achievements in the field of swiftwater flood rescue. In addition team efforts and singular incidents or acts of heroism, rescue professionals who have been dedicated to develop and implementing swiftwater rescue training programs are also recognized. The awards are presented annually during the National Association for Search and Rescue conference.

Flooding is the leading cause of weather related deaths nationwide. Hundreds of people lose their lives in flood related disasters and other fast moving water incidents every year. Hundreds more suffer serious water related injuries. Rescuers who lack proper swiftwater flood rescue training and equipment are also at risk of serious injury and loss of life. In 1995 alone, three firefighters died in separate swiftwater flood rescue incidents. Although improvements in response capability are being made many public safety agencies, others remain inadequately prepared to perform safe and effective swiftwater and flood rescues.

It is hoped that through the Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Swiftwater Rescue, awareness about the need for swiftwater rescue training and certification will increase, and more agencies will be inspired to develop viable water rescue programs for the protection of the public, as well as the safety of their personnel.

The Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards are sponsored by NASAR and other private donors, with support from the families and friends of Higgins & Langley. Contributions are solicited to ensure the continuation of this award.

The Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards are presented during the annual National Association for Search and Rescue Conference with special ceremonies as needed at the local level.

N E W !

"READY FOR THE STORM," by award-winning documentary filmmaker Nancy Rigg

With haunting music by Dougie MacLean, this brief, emotionally-charged video is a visual anthem to swiftwater rescue. It captures not only the essence of the Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards in Swiftwater Rescue, for which it was produced, but also graphically illustrates the reasons that every agency tasked with flood or swiftwater response needs to be "ready" for the storm.

All proceeds from the sale of this video support the Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards in Swiftwater Rescue and are tax-deductible. This video is available for general use, but may NOT be duplicated or used as a source for other videos. Total running time 3:49, VHS only. Cost, including shipping, is $15.00.


(PDF Format - Use Adobe Acrobat Reader)


The official Higgins and Langley Memorial Award in Swiftwater Rescue medal is now available for purchase by recipients of awards only. The military-style medal is truly a work of art. The ribbon is registered and the medal is struck from .999 pure silver. The Special Commendation medal is antiqued. The International and Lifetime Achievement medals are plated in 24kt gold. All medals are numbered and registered.


(PDF Format - Use Adobe Acrobat Reader)


Click Here To Download the Nomination Form For The Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards
Deadline for Submissions: April 18, 2005

This is an Adobe pdf file. If you do not have the Adobe Acrobat Reader you can go here to download it for free.

If you have questions or comments about the awards
please contact Nancy Rigg at
[email protected]

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