Of all the protected characteristics discussed so far in FIRE’s equality, diversity and inclusion series, disability support and awareness, although no less important, is less prominent in the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS), in part, perhaps, due to the stereotypical image of a physically fit and strong firefighter. But ‘disability’ does not refer only to the physical – the term encompasses any ‘physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’, as described on equalityhumanrights.com.

Earlier this year, FIRE reported on the neurodiversity conference hosted by the LGA. The term encompasses all conditions that present a different thinking style, including ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia, and it is a subject that is fast spreading through fire services around the country. With adequate support and reasonable adjustments in place, someone with a disability and/or neurodiverse condition can add the same value to society as anyone else, and the results of my search for positive action in fire services across the country reflect this. What follows are four different stories and approaches to disability and neurodiversity support and awareness that are enriching the experiences of internal workforces and external communities.

Read the full article on our digital issue, page 71-74.


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