AF&RS to take part in St Pauls Carnival Parade

Avon Fire and Rescue Service (AF&RS) is delighted to announce that it will take part in the St Pauls Carnival parade to raise awareness around water safety and recruitment.

Staff from across the Service will have their own stand in Portland Square where they will host a variety of family games and answer any questions people might have about the Service.

Children will have the chance to try on breathing apparatus equipment, have a go at ladder climbing and driving to a shout through VR and games for children.

For the first time, AF&RS will also have a fire engine at the back of the parade. Rigged with a sound system, it is hoped the fire engine will prove a talking point amongst the crowd and encourage people to discuss water safety.

Firefighters will also be on hand to talk about what it is like to work as a firefighter and how anyone should consider joining.

The move comes as AF&RS hopes to show that being a firefighter is more than just fighting fires, but also being a leader in your community.

We 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.

Richard Stokes, Diversity, Inclusion, Cohesion and Equalities Officer for AF&RS, said: “St Pauls Carnival touches so many people in our Service area and is the heart of the community.

“We are proud to be taking part in the parade this year and hope it demonstrates just how far Avon Fire has come in supporting ever community in the area.

“As well as raising messages around fire and water safety, we also want to encourage people from all communities to join the Service, helping to drive it forward over the coming years.”

Recruiting more staff from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds is a priority for the Service. Currently, seven per cent of staff who stated their ethnicity are from BME backgrounds.

Similarly, 15 per cent of current staff are women, something that the service is hoping to change over the coming years.

Richard added: “It is always great to welcome new people to the Service as we grow and change the culture across the organisation.

“We are there for the community and we want role models from all communities to join us to ensure the Service is a culturally diverse and rich place to work.

“We will continue to work with community groups across the area and know that we can do more. We’d love for community groups to get in touch with us so we can discuss their needs or concerns.”

LaToyah McAllister-Jones, Executive Director of St Pauls Carnival added: “St Pauls Carnival is a vibrant expression of Bristol’s wonderful diversity and an event that brings dozens of communities together. It is a chance to celebrate both our similarities and differences which is why we felt a theme of ‘Our journey’ would work so well for 2019.

“We are thrilled to have so many organisations take part in Carnival and dedicate their time to celebrating the local community, culture, arts and music.”