Avon Fire & Rescue Service unveils new fire engine wrapping in support of Pride

Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is marking Bristol Pride by wrapping an operational fire engine in support of the event.

The rainbow-coloured engine will take part in the procession on Saturday (14/07) morning before returning to normal duty fully decorated.

In an event that draws around 40,000 people to the city, AF&RS will be showing support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) community and promoting a career with the fire service through our 'Yes You Can' Campaign.

It is estimated that at least 80,000 people in our service area are from the LGBT community. However, only 0.92% of our staff are Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual.

AF&RS is hoping to make people aware that being a firefighter is not just about fighting fires but also being a leader within your community.

Firefighters spend more and more time out in the community raising awareness, conducting home fire safety checks and communicating fire prevention and other safety messages, all of which a diverse workforce helps to deliver.

Mick Crennell, Chief Fire Officer for AF&RS, said: “We are always looking for new ways to reach members of the community we might miss in our day to day operations.

“Bristol Pride gives us the opportunity to show that the service is committed to inclusivity and we would love for more people from the LGBT community to join and help make a difference to people’s lives.”

Along with the new wrapping on the engine, Temple fire station will also be opening its doors between 8.30am and 10am in morning for local residents and the LGBT community who may have any questions on working for AF&RS or home fire safety concerns.

Mat Pember, Green Watch Manager at Temple fire station, said: “It is always great to open our doors to members of the public and answer any questions they might have.

“We are dedicated to helping everybody in the area and this gives us the opportunity to get together and talk to anyone taking part in Pride or those who simply want to drop in.

“It is a fantastic way to show people what we can do for them and discuss safety advice.”

As well supporting the LGBT community and encouraging people to consider a career in the fire service, AF&RS is also raising a serious fire safety message.

LGB people are twice as likely as their straight counterparts to abuse alcohol(1), seven times more likely to abuse drugs and more likely to be regular smokers. All of these risk factors increase the likelihood of accidental fires and slips, trips and falls in the home.

Older LGB people are also more likely to live alone and less than a quarter see family members on a regular basis, compared to more than half of heterosexual older people.

Alex Kohnert, Inclusion and Diversity Manager for AF&RS, added: “Research shows that more of the LGBT community aren’t supported by their families and can often end up living alone.

“This can mean they are more at risk at home and that is something we want to help prevent. By attending such a massive event, along with promoting our 'Yes You Can' campaign, we can really help to raise awareness around home fire safety and promote a positive message.”

A second wrapped fire engine will be attending Bath Carnival on Saturday 21 July and staff from the Service will be part of the parade at Weston Pride on Saturday 28 July. AF&RS will also continue to wrap vehicles in the future to raise awareness around community safety.

You can support the fire engines and crew by tweeting with #PoweredByPride.

More information on recruitment with AF&RS, such as what steps to progress now and to receive updates on future recruitment, please visit http://yesyoucan.careers/