Seven D.C. firemen and five policemen received awards yesterday for courageous acts performed on and off duty this year that ranged from rescuing people trapped inside burning buildings to talking holdup men into surrendering.

The awards were presented by Police Chief Marueice J. Cullinane and Fire Chief Burton Johnson at the annual Police and Fire Awards Luncheon, sponsored by the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade.

The ceremony was highlighted by a telegram from President Carter and a speech by Mayor Walter E. Washington in which he said the District had "the greatest fire and police departments in the country."

Those receiving awards were Dt. Grover L. Fowler, who arrested a holdup man while off duty on April 3; Fire Capt. Louis R. Carpenter and Pvt. Daniel G. Faison, who rescued two women from inside a building while the floor burned away from beneath them; police Officer David R. Hayhurst, who was shot during the takeover of a Wisconsin Avenue boutique but managed to guard the only exit from the shop until help arrived.

Also honored were firemen John Schmuckle and Donnell Daniels. When police fired tear gas into an apartment where a man had barricaded himself with a gun, it started a fire. Schmuckle and Daniels were sent up to put it out. Both were attacked by the gunman, but managed to subdue him and turn him over to police.

Other awards went to police Officers Jerome Sitek and James Kelly, who disarmed a man threatening to kill his baby and himself: Sgt. Patrick T. Dempsey of the Fire Department, who crawled along the floor of a fire-engulfed building and rescued two elderly persons inside: police Officer James Tibbs, who spotted a holdup in progress while off duty and apprehended three suspects.

Because of the special efforts of Rep. Gladys Noon Spellman (D-Md.), and a number of firemen living in her Prince George's County district, two firemen received awards yesterday who otherwise would not have received them.

Firemen J. Clark Partian and Thomas N. Tippett rescued three people from a burning building at 507 O St. NW, but were not nominated for awards before what was thought to be the June 30 dealine.

Because of red tape and "bureaucreatic snafus," Spellman said, she was unable to het the men nominated. So she appeared at the ceremony yesterday with a plaque signed by members of Congress.