Fire Service Drops ‘Fireman Sam’ Mascot Because He’s Not Inclusive Enough

LONDON - JUNE 25: Fireman Sam arrives in his fire engine on the Forecourt of Buckingham Palace for the Queen's 80th Birthday - Children's Garden Party on June 25, 2006 in London. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service has dropped the children’s animated character Fireman Sam as one of their mascots to stop people feeling “excluded”.

The service’s Chief Fire Officer Les Britzman said that they would not longer be using the mascot costume of the popular children’s character during promotional events because the fictional character is “outdated” and “doesn’t reflect the fire service today” or its workforce.

“It’s important to us that our open days and community events don’t make anyone feel excluded and therefore we took this decision,” Mr Britzman said, according to The Telegraph.

London Fire Brigade — headed by its first female commissioner Dany Cotton who in 2017 said that Fireman Sam should be renamed Firefighter Sam to make the show more “inclusive” — backed the move, saying: “The use of the outdated term Fireman ingrains especially in the young that it is a male only role. We’ve been called firefighters for 30 years & just ask everyone to call us our job title. And that will stop excluding our women firefighters & encourage more to join.”

London’s fire service has attacked children’s cartoon characters in the past for being insufficiently woke, blaming them for the lack of gender parity in fire fighting. In March, London Fire Brigade criticised Peppa Pig, a show popular with pre-schoolers, for describing one of the female characters as being dressed as a “fireman” and claimed that using “out of date stereotypical gender specific wording prevents young girls from becoming firefighters”.

In March, another senior female fireman, Alex Johnson from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, made the extraordinary claim that Fireman Sam was putting women off of joining the service, saying: “Children’s shows like Fireman Sam don’t help to break down stereotypes.”

“Women and people from different ethnic backgrounds are simply not considering being a firefighter because they are not seeing themselves represented,” she added.

With just 5.2 per cent of firemen in England being women, services are making a concerted effort to recruit more women as well as ethnic minorities, with a Home Office minister lamenting in 2017 that fire brigades were overwhelmingly male and white. At the beginning of this year, a whistleblower at West Midlands Fire Service claimed that entrance examination pass marks were set higher for white men than for women or minorities.


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