12 September 2019
Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue has just abandoned Fireman Sam. He was for many years the county’s mascot but no more. Firefighters and members of the public had complained that it was not an inclusive image.
Two things. Firstly, the term fireman hasn’t been used for decades. The correct term is the non-specific ‘firefighter’. Sam’s gender specific image cannot be the most effective one to attract more women into the service.
Secondly, Fireman Sam has given thirty years’ sterling service. It’s surely time for him to be retired! I am not sure replacing him with the imagery of fire extinguishers is very exciting but a more creative approach needs to be developed.
It’s not only an issue about gender. It is also an issue about contemporary imagery. The truth is that Fireman Sam no longer gives a true account of what firefighters do. It has become old-fashioned and out of date!
It makes me think about the kirk and the imagery which we use to talk about things – the language of the courts, the size and location of the manse, the middle class committee structure, the focus on words at the expense of emotion …. Time for a change?