It seems that Fireman Sam would be a logical choice as a mascot for a fire station. However the popular kids’ TV character has been banned from being a mascot as he is ‘not inclusive enough’.
A Fire and Rescue Service in Lincolnshire has fired poor Sam due to concerns that the fictional fireman may discourage women or ethnic minorities from joining the world of firefighting.
The firestation will instead use Freddy, Filbert and Penelope, blue and red fire extinguishers, as their mascots.
However, this move has been widely ridiculed as absurd with fire fighters being accused of ‘political correctness gone too far’.
The staff were sent an email which informed them that Sam ‘does not reflect the inclusive nature of Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue,’ as reported in the Daily Mail.
‘Please can you ensure when you are designing posters that Fireman Sam is not used and more inclusive images are utilised. This includes no longer using the Fireman Sam costumes on stations,’ the email added.
What about Penny?
The much-loved British animated TV hero was created in the 1980s by two London firefighters and over the years has included a variety of disabled and ethnic minority characters. In addition, Penny Morris, a female firefighter was added to the team a few years ago.
This is not the first time, poor sold Sam has been the subject of sexism.
Last year, Ann Millington, the Chief Executive of the Kent Fire and Rescue Service, called for the character to be re-named ‘Firefighter Sam’.
The show has also been accused of not reflecting what the job is really like.
Lincolnshire’s chief fire officer Les Britzman spoke to The Lincolnite newspaper saying: ‘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.’
However, there was also much opposition to the controversial move.
One disgruntled local shared on Twitter: ‘Just found out that our local firecrew are dropping Fireman Sam as a mascot because they’re concerned about gender stereotypes. God forbid we should encourage our young men to join the fire service.’
Another wrote: ‘It is not just about the absurdity of the new politically correct fanatics and their demands. It also is about the cowardice of those who accept their demands.’
One commenter pointed out: ‘Wasn’t there a female firefighter in the TV show too? Perhaps they could add her to their posters rather than removing him.
‘Now, instead of encouraging boys and girls to become fire-people, they’re encouraging them to – um – become fire extinguishers with faces?’
Not A Recruitment Drive!
One of the writers of the show, David Jones, who is himself a former firefighter, lashed out to the critics saying that the show is meant to educate its young audience on fire safety and was not designed as a recruitment drive.
Speaking on BBC Radio 2, he said: ‘It is for children, it wasn’t meant to be advertised as a recruiting post.
‘It is supposed to teach kids some small safety items. Someone doesn’t join the fire service when they watch Fireman Sam.
‘They wouldn’t be the right people for the job if that was their mentality.’
Do you think the fire station was correct in banning Fireman Sam? Tell us in the comments below.
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