Fireman Sam banned by fire service for ‘not being inclusive’
Written by Hit Music Radio News on 11/09/2019
A fire service says it will no longer use Fireman Sam in its promotional material because the character is outdated and not inclusive.
Lincolnshire’s chief fire officer Les Britzman suggested the long-running children’s TV show had stopped more women from joining the fire service and should be renamed “Firefighter Sam”.
The service will instead use its own characters, fire extinguishers Freddy and Filbert, in future promotions.
Explaining the decision to ban Fireman Sam, Mr Britzman told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “The character itself is outdated, the programme itself is probably fairly up to date.
“I think the producers would probably get more fire and rescue services wanting to use the character and the programme if they brought themselves up to date a bit, that’s all we’re asking.
“We’re trying to save people’s lives here, not be politically correct.
“The reason more women don’t want to be firefighters is because of images like Fireman Sam.”
In England, 5.2% of firefighters are women.
According to local newspaper The Lincolnite, the fire service received negative feedback after featuring Fireman Sam on posters and advertising material.
An email seen by the newspaper – which was sent by an “authority figure” in the fire service – stated: “A decision has been made not to include images of Fireman Sam on posters or advertising going forward, as it does not reflect the inclusive nature of Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue.
“Please can you ensure when you are designing posters that Fireman Sam is not used and more inclusive images are utilised.”
Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue’s decision was criticised by some people who insisted Fireman Sam was already “politically correct”.
The series – which has been a fixture of children’s TV since the 1980s – now includes disabled and ethnic minority characters, while female firefighter Penny Morris has long been part of Fireman Sam’s team in the Welsh village of Pontypandy.
London Assembly member Susan Hall, deputy leader of the Conservative group, said: “Having spent hours watching Fireman Sam with my grandsons I can confirm it’s the most PC programme imaginable with female firefighters doing exactly the same as Sam.
“This increasing desire to remove men from being role models is getting ridiculous.”
Earlier this year, London Fire Bridge accused Fireman Sam and fellow children’s TV show Peppa Pig of sexism for using the term “fireman” instead of “firefighter”.
The fire service said girls “think they can’t be firefighters because children’s TV continues to use outdated language”.
© Sky News 2019