Follow the rainbow… Chance to become an Oxfordshire firefighter

Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service is proudly flying the rainbow flag over its headquarters in Kidlington, celebrating diversity as part of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) History Month.

The service strives to ensure its personnel are representative of the local community. Participating in LGBT History Month sends a clear message; no one should fear prejudice when applying to become an on-call firefighter.

Simon Furlong, Chief Fire Officer for Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service, said: “For me, diversity covers many areas, such as gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity.

“If our personnel represent the community, we will better understand local issues. In turn, we’ll be able to enhance community relationships, break down barriers, and deliver the right service and advice at the right time, with the right outcome.”

Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service will be organising ‘taster’ days in coming months, offering people an opportunity to experience what it takes to be a firefighter, or a member of the fire prevention team. Participants will be able to ask questions to those already in the service.

After unfurling the rainbow flag, Simon Furlong outlined his vision. He said:

“I want an Oxfordshire where residents feel safe and secure. Served by a Fire and Rescue Service, where lives are saved and prevention advice given by a team who reflects the community makeup. Residents are at the heart of these plans. I want everyone in my team to passionately embrace diversity and make a positive difference to help Oxfordshire thrive.”

The LGBT rainbow flag was designed by Gilbert Baker in San Francisco, in 1978. Originally it featured eight stripes, now six, each representing a meaning, quality or value:

Red = life 

Orange = healing 

Yellow = sunlight 

Green = nature

Blue = harmony/peace 

Purple = spirit 

For further information about joining Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service, visit the website: www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/oncallfirefighters or email fire.recruitment@oxfordshire.gov.uk