Source of inspiration

This year’s Excellence in Fire & Emergency Awards (EFEs) will take place on December 3 at One Great George Street, Westminster (see pg 33) and will serve as a long overdue celebration of those fire and emergency personnel who have done so much over the last 18 months in providing first-rate emergency response against the backdrop of a global pandemic.

What, the cynic in us all may ask, is the place for awards in these difficult times?

In short, they do what FIRE magazine has adopted as our mantra: Inform, Engage, Inspire. They inform colleagues, partners, potential collaborators and the public of the incredible work that goes on; they engage with others to take more of an interest, to actively pursue new avenues; and they inspire observers to become involved in community activities, to immerse themselves in voluntary work, to help others in the broadest possible terms and to progress their personal development. Without singling out previous award winners, it has worked on numerous occasions at the EFEs and will hopefully do so for years to come.

On that theme, FIRE magazine recently picked up the Editor’s Column Silver Award at the coveted Tabbies – a US-based trade association promoting business publishing, following the UK Press Gazette’s Coronavirus Journalism Excellence Best Comment award last year (see opposite). Both were inspired by Security Correspondent Dr Dave Sloggett and in turn inspired a series of articles calling for a Charter for Resilience (see pg 17).

Likewise, FIRE correspondents (see box opposite) continue to inspire discussion through our series, ‘Fire and Rescue Service: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion 2021’, this issue focusing on what positive action is taking place in support of our LGBTQ+ staff and external communities by Diversity & Inclusion Correspondent Lorna King (see pg 38). There is ongoing debate from last issue’s article on ‘Breaking the Fire Service glass ceiling: Getting women to the top’ by Political Editor Catherine Levin. If the revelatory reports from our correspondents fail to inform, engage and inspire then I don’t know what will.

A further source of inspiration for this reporter has been the heartening take-up of our ‘Fire for All’ offer for UK fire and rescue services which has seen over 30,000 new subscribers over the last year, meaning three out of four personnel can now access FIRE magazine by print or on their mobile devices. Such phenomenal uptake leads only to FIRE seeking more ways to assist with personal development and exceed the requirements of informing, engaging and inspiring our readers.

A case in point is our exclusive report on the early findings of the research project on heat stress and contaminants: ‘The Physiological, Immunological and Contaminant Monitoring of Firefighters and Instructors’ (see pg 79) which is a real eye-opener on heat exposure effecting inflammatory markers and immune system function for firefighters in general and instructors in particular. As Dr Alan Richardson comments: “We now need to influence policy rather than doing any more research. When the operational policies come to be written again, hopefully we can link and write the guidance on the subject.”

On a personal note, there is no-one who has inspired me more than my close friend and colleague, CFO Paul Fuller CBE, who sadly passed away in June (see obituary on pg 6). Complicit in my personal development over the last quarter of a century, I cannot thank him enough: this edition, those awards, future growth… I dedicate to the great man.