- Monday, 08 July 2019 10:48
Temple fire station is throwing its doors open ahead of Bristol Pride, welcoming the LGBT+ community in support of the event.
Having previously wrapped two fire engines in rainbow coloured wrapping, firefighters will be on hand to answer any questions people might have about joining the Service or fire safety.
Offering a free breakfast BBQ, staff will be teaming up with local police and ambulance crews between 8.30am and 11am, with anyone welcome to join.
Staff will be on hand to answer any questions on working for the emergency services or personal safety concerns or to simply be a base for people to come and get glittered up ready for the parade.
Two of Avon Fire & Rescue Service's (AF&RS) fire engines have been wrapped in support of the event and will be on display before they take part in the procession, which is estimated to draw 40,000 people to the city.
It is estimated that at least 80,000 people in AF&RS' service area are from the LGBTQ+ community. However, of those staff who have stated their sexual orientation, 1.4 per cent of our staff identify as LGBT+.
Part of opening up the fire station is about making 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.
Richard Stokes, Diversity, Inclusion, Cohesion and Equalities Officer for AF&RS, said: “Bristol Pride is a fantastic event that brings people from across our Service area together for a time of celebration.
“As a Service, we are always looking for new ways to engage and reach members of the community that we might miss on a day to day basis so this is the perfect time to welcome people onto the station.
“As an organisation, we are committed to inclusivity and we would love to LGBT+ community help us to make a difference.
“Anyone is welcome on the day. Come along and chat to us about fire safety, our work in the community, or simply pop in for some great food and some fun and games!
“Feel free to come and have a look around the vehicles, roll out a fire hose or try on some breathing apparatus sets.”
As well as 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.
LGBT+ people are twice as likely as their straight counterparts to abuse alcohol, 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 LGBT+ 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.
Police and ambulance crews will also be on station all morning to discuss recruitment and making the community safer.
Helen Riddell, Chair of the LGBT+ Staff Network for Avon and Somerset Police, said: “The Avon & Somerset police LGBT+ team are delighted to support our colleagues from Avon Fire and South West Ambulance service at this breakfast Open Doors event.
“We are LGBT+ people working within the emergency services and passionately believe in making our services the best they can be for our communities.
“We want to increase the representation of LGBT+ people in our emergency services and this is a great opportunity to come and meet us in an informal and friendly way to ask any questions you might have about how you could bring your skills and enthusiasm to our organisations.
“Whatever your interest though, we will all be delighted to see you there before we all make our way to the Pride parade.”
Vicky Evans, Head of HR Services and Talent for South Western Ambulance Service, added: “We’re looking forward to chatting to as many people as possible before for the Pride Parade about the Ambulance Service and the wide variety of career opportunities we have available.
“You could be part of our amazing team. Whether that’s on the frontline as an Emergency Care Assistant or Paramedic, answering calls in our 999 Call Centres or as part of our Support Services within HR, Finance, Fleet and Governance.
“Whatever your skills and experience, we are sure to have an opportunity to suit you.
“Look out for us with our Rainbow Ambulance during the Pride Parade.”
You can support the fire engines and crew by tweeting with #PoweredByPride.
If you would like to donate to Bristol Pride, visit https://bristolpride.co.uk/support-pride/donate/