Extreme environment expert given lifetime achievement award

A British world leading expert in extreme environments has been given an international lifetime achievement award in recognition of his decades of work to help prevent drowning.

Professor Mike Tipton, a human and applied physiologist at the University of Portsmouth, was given the award by the Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards for Flood and Swiftwater Rescue.

The awards recognise teamwork, preparedness, skill and honour under extreme conditions.

It is really satisfying to have been nominated by those at the sharp end of search and rescue. It vindicates what we do.

Mike Tipton, Professor of Human & Applied Physiology

Recipients from across the world were honoured for working extremely long hours in difficult situations to save lives threatened by water, such as following hurricanes, floods and monsoons.

Professor Tipton was nominated by Hampshire Fire and Rescue and the editor of Technical Rescue magazine for his work helping those who get into trouble and the search and rescue community over 35 years.

Professor Tipton said: “I am honoured to receive this. It is really satisfying to have been nominated by those at the sharp end of search and rescue. It vindicates what we do and applied physiology in general. It’s also a great honour to be recognised by an international award.”

His work has fundamentally altered how rescuers approach and handle drowning victims.

Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards judges,

The award is Professor Tipton’s 27th over a career examining human survival in extreme environments, including from: The Physiological Society, Surf Lifesaving GB, The USA Aeromedical Association, the RAF and International Association of Sea Survival Trainers .

The award judges praised his more than 30 years research in extreme environments and drowning prevention, adding: “He is a subject matter expert, advising the military, search and rescue community and industry in thermoregulation, environmental and occupational physiology and survival. His work has fundamentally altered how rescuers approach and handle drowning victims.”

The Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards were established in 1993 by members of the Swiftwater Rescue Committee of the National Association for Search and Rescue in honour of Earl Higgins, a writer and filmmaker who lost his life in 1980 while rescuing a child who was swept down the flood-swollen Los Angeles River, and Jeffrey Langley, a Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighter-paramedic, who lost his life in a helicopter incident in 1993.

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