Safety Excellence Awards

The safety of our employees and visitors is a top priority for the National Park Service. I am proud to recognize the employees who exhibit great leadership and a superior work ethic to make national parks a safer place to work and visit.
Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director, National Park Service

Safety excellence awards honor exemplary achievements by employees to reduce the risk of injury or illness to employees or visitors.

Director's Awards recognize significant achievement by individuals and groups to cultivate a safe and healthful work environment for employees.

The Andrew Clark Hecht Public Safety Achievement Award, presented annually since 1998, recognizes efforts to prevent serious injuries or fatalities to park visitors. Funded by the Hecht family, it is presented in memory of Andrew Clark Hecht, a nine-year-old boy who died during a visit to Yellowstone National Park with his family.

Award recipients for 2014 are:

Safety award winner James Pieper
James Pieper

NPS photo

Director's Award, Individual Achievement
James Pieper, Natural Resource Specialist, National Capital Regional Office

Mr. Pieper developed an Occupant Emergency Plan and ensured all employees had access to safety training to reduce the risk of injury in the field and office. Additionally, he conducted two CPR, AED, and BFA classes, and organized fire and active shooter drills. He tested the Evacuation Plan at biweekly staff meetings with a reward system for those who complied and recognized employees who helped to improve safety. Mr. Pieper actively managed the NRS Chemical Hygiene Plan and assisted five other parks by reviewing and facilitating chemical management requests.

North Country National Scenic Trail safety program members
North Country National Scenic Trail Safety Program (employees, volunteers, and partners)

North Country Trail Association photo

Director's Award, Group Achievement
Safety Program, North Country National Scenic Trail - MI, MN, ND, NY, OH, PA, WI

The winner of the Director's Safety and Health Achievement Award in the group category is North Country National Scenic Trail's Safety Program, which helped the site experience its first ever injury-free year in 2014! This accomplishment includes 76,450 hours worked by 1,022 volunteers. In a great illustration of top-level support, the superintendent and safety officer developed the "Professionalism in the Workforce" Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in 2014. The SOP addresses zero-tolerance for safety violations, incorporating language from Operational Leadership.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon search and rescue members
Back row, from left to right: Jeff Webb, Chris Waldschmidt, Ned Kelleher, Kevin Morris, Don Seale, Sue Schwarz, Lauri Smith. Front row, from left to right: Jason Ramsdell, Melanie Lloyd, Dave Fox, Pablo Garzon, Gregg Fauth.

NPS photo

Andrew Clark Hecht Public Safety Achievement, Group Award
Search and Rescue Program, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, CA

In the last five years, the Search and Rescue (SAR) Program has managed over 400 search and rescue operations and has not had one serious accident or lost time injury. The SAR Program also conducted ongoing outreach to park users through web- based content, in person education, and media-based outreach. Tools were also provided to mitigate risks. The Sequoia and Kings Canyon SAR Program hosted trainings for other parks on SAR and EMS and also exported examples and methods on preventative search and rescue education for wilderness visitors.

Previous awardees:

Last updated: December 7, 2015