‘Fire doesn’t discriminate and neither do we’ are the words embossed on the lockers of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s (WYFRS) newly customised fire engine, unveiled today (02/08) at the Service’s headquarters in Birkenshaw.
The modified engine will be taking part in this year’s Leeds Pride Parade, Yorkshires largest annual celebration of LGBT+ life, on August 5 from 2pm onwards.
The idea for the pride lockers was coined by WYFRS’s recently formed ‘Inclusion Action Group’ (IAG). The group, started by several employees, was set up with the aim of improving the Service’s practice and culture on all things diversity and inclusion.
The IAG wanted to create the custom engine to demonstrate WYFRS’s commitment to the LGBT+ community, and worked together with local businesses to make the idea a reality.
Diversity Projects Officer Chris Davey said: “We are seeking to improve our relations with, and opportunities for, underrepresented groups within our own staff and in the communities we serve.
“Among operational firefighters LGBT+ communities are significantly underrepresented. We have modified one of our fire engines in order to express a commitment to changing this representation, to promote the message of inclusion and that we as a service do not discriminate.”
Watch Commander and IAG member Anthony Devine said: “We hope that this sends a positive message to LGBT+ communities and allows them to see us as a trusted ally, and as a potential employer.
“We are making a concerted effort towards advancing the equality of opportunity and fostering good relations.”
Alex and Ali from Leeds Pride said:” We are delighted that West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue are so visibly supporting Leeds Pride and the LGBT+ community of Leeds and wider, both across the UK and the world. We can’t wait to see their new rainbow engine in the Leeds Pride parade on the 5th August.
The engine and members of WYFRS staff will be gathering in Millennium Square on Sunday 5th August from 12 midday. The parade sets off at 2pm and finishes at Lower Briggate.
We will be posting on our social media channels all day and will even be going live on Instagram so make sure to follow us and tune in!
If you see us, make sure to tag us in your pictures or use the hashtag #FirePride