Firefighters roll out new uniform

// 30 March 2009

The Fire & Rescue Services are launching newly designed uniforms, including fire-fighting gear to better fit women, hijab and turban options, long-sleeved shirts, long skirts and maternity wear.

From the press release:

Fire Minister Sadiq Khan said:

“We want the widest range of applicants to apply to join the Fire and Rescue Service. To do achieve this it is important that all applicants – men and women – know that the uniform and clothing they will be issued with, will not only protect them but will also fit properly and be comfortable. The introduction of more appropriately fitted clothing is just one initiative to help to both retain female firefighters and encourage others to consider a fire service career.

“Fire prevention is vitally important today as we continue the aim of driving down fire deaths. To achieve this, the FRS needs employees from all ethnic groups to reflect the diversity of our communities. This will enable better mutual understanding when the FRS undertake fire safety visits. The uniform now available shows that cultural beliefs are being recognised, as we seek to increase the representation of ethnic minorities within service.

“We ask a great deal of our firefighters every day, and their professionalism was again called upon in the testing. I want to thank all who were involved in the rigorous trials and tendering process.”

Some more quotes:

Jagtar Singh OBE national spokesperson for the Asian Fire Service Association commented:

“AFSA are pleased to note that the Fire Service is now taking seriously the issues of culture and religious belief when purchasing corporate and protective clothing for firefighters. This can only help to support the service to recruit more BME men and women.”

Nicola Lown from Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service said:

“The uniform was comfortable in its entirety and the trousers, for once, fitted well!”

Lincolnshire FRS is the first to purchase the clothing. Lincolnshire’s Chief Fire Officer Mike Thomas said:

“Having been involved in the development of this clothing project I have been particularly impressed with the robust and extensive garment trials and the development of the national identity. I look forward to seeing my operational firefighters protected to the best standards available with clothing that is clearly fit for purpose, suitable for all staff. The clothing presents a positive image of the modern fire and rescue service.”

The Fire service has just recently announced targets to increase the number of women recruited to 15% by 2013 – in 2008 the figure was 9.2% – and make sure the number of men and women recruited from ethnic minorities reflects the local demographics.

(H/T @CTrouper)

Comments From You

Giuseppe // Posted 30 March 2009 at 6:09 pm

What has religious belief got to do with being a fire fighter?

David Abstract // Posted 30 March 2009 at 6:29 pm

Small point – why do we care about the gender/ethnicity/religion of people in the Fire Service? I’m all for anything that makes it easier for people to join the emergency services and if these new uniforms make a difference that’s great, but how does it effect me a service user if 15% fire fighters are women as opposed to 10%? In the case of the Police service or Ambulance crew it’s obvious that demographic representation is important (particularly for the Police, in order to keep public trust.) What is the equivalent reasoning for the Fire Service?

This isn’t intended as hostile or anti-feminist – just interested…

Karen // Posted 30 March 2009 at 7:43 pm

Woo-Hoo! Some common sense! My uniform has ‘ladies’ trousers that wouldnt fit me in a million years becuase they are based on mens dimensions, just made a tad smaller and called ladies. I have to buy my own from Tescos and it took me SEVEN YEARS to get a boiler suit that actually fit me! Oh those hilarious jokes about the turn-ups and lack of beer gut! Well done Fire Service, true equality in action!

S // Posted 31 March 2009 at 6:19 pm

In response to David Abstract:

It matters because very few women are going to feel that they can go into a career with very few other women in it. There will probably also be a large number of people in this career who would try to stop women who did try.

I can see what you mean but its about the fact that it means people have equal representation and equal ability to chose their path.

Brandi // Posted 21 April 2009 at 4:29 pm

I believe this is a very good idea. It shows that the Fire and Rescue services cares about the people of this society, and that it wants to accommodate to the needs of its women and its prospect women.

Have Your say

To comment, you must be registered with The F-Word. Not a member? Register. Already a member? Use the sign in button below

Sign in to the F-Word

Further Reading

Has The F-Word whet your appetite? Check out our Resources section, for listings of feminist blogs, campaigns, feminist networks in the UK, mailing lists, international and national websites and charities of interest.

Write for us!

Got something to say? Something to review? News to discuss? Well we want to hear from you! Click here for more info

  • The F-Word on Twitter
  • The F-Word on Facebook
  • Our XML Feeds