Fireman Sam dropped as fire service mascot because he 'may make people feel excluded'
Chief Fire Officer says character 'doesn’t reflect the fire service today'
Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue (LFR) made the decision after it received negative feedback regarding the mascot not being inclusive enough. The character had previously been used by the fire service for station open days and advertising materials.
Instead LFR has introduced new mascots in the form of gender-neutral blue, red and yellow fire extinguishers called Freddy, Filbert and Penelope.
Chief fire officer Les Britzman said: “Firefighters nationally and residents locally have raised some concerns that ‘Fireman Sam’ doesn’t reflect the fire service today, in terms of both the job itself and our workforce.
“It’s important to us that our open days and community events don’t make anyone feel excluded and therefore we took this decision.
“We always make sure that we include plenty of activities and other ways to engage children and adults, to help them learn more about fire safety and a firefighter’s role.”
According to The Lincolnite, an email has been sent to all fire stations in the county requesting that they do not use the Fireman Sam mascot in the future.
“Please can you ensure when you are designing posters that Fireman Sam is not used and more inclusive images are utilised,” the email reads.
“This includes no longer using the Fireman Sam costumes on stations.”
The service tweeted: “Come on @peppapig, we’ve not been firemen for 30 years. You have a huge influence on kids & using out of date stereotypical gender specific wording prevents young girls from becoming firefighters.”
The tweet launched a social media debate, which was highlighted on ITV series Good Morning Britain when host Piers Morgan criticised the issue women have with the use of the word “fireman” in cartoons, including Fireman Sam.
“It’s not that women don’t want to go and risk their lives, but actually, it’s cartoons,” Morgan said.
“It’s Fireman Sam, that is the problem, because it is called Fireman Sam."