Even though the competition is fierce and the process tough, every year thousands of people apply to become a firefighter. Ellen Culhane tells FIRE about the recent joint recruitment by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service as they try out new approaches to increase the diversity of their latest intake in the middle of a pandemic.
FIRE Editor Andrew Lynch points to the words of advice and inspiration from women and black, Asian and ethnic minority personnel as we seek to raise the profile of a service that needs to be more diverse and inclusive.
There is no one simple answer for a service which has largely failed to reflect the community it serves, or give a straightforward roadmap for a route to the top – enticing as direct entry may sound – as we discover in the June issue of FIRE.
Our correspondents ask the difficult questions in special reports: ‘Diversity and inclusion 2021: The experience of black, Asian and ethnic minority personnel in the Fire Service’ (see pg 23) and ‘Breaking the Fire Service glass ceiling: Getting women to the top’ (see pg 27), whilst the Arctic Fire Angels discuss their quest to empower women and raise mental health awareness (see pg 71). If the latter sounds like the birth of a Marvel or DC-style fire franchise then it would be no bad thing: role models are the inspiration to break glass ceilings and shatter white-male-only-machismo-skewered myths.