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The Higgins and Langley Memorial Awards honor outstanding achievement in the technical rescue discipline of swiftwater and flood rescue. They are not heroism awards, but rather recognize preparedness, teamwork, and a job well done, sometimes under extreme conditions, where training is vital to the success of rescue missions, as well as the safety of rescue personnel.

The awards 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 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.

There are several award categories, including the highest award presented: the Higgins and Langley Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Swiftwater Rescue. The Program Development Award honors those who have developed and implemented stellar swiftwater rescue programs. The International Award honors international teamwork and individual accomplishments. Special Commendation Awards recognize individual contributions, as well as teamwork. And on occasion, the Lifetime Achievement Award is presented.

The Awards are presented during the National Association for Search and Rescue Conference, followed by presentations at the local level.

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