The new Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, Andy Roe, is the first Commissioner in 75 years to have a military background.
2020 marks 121 years since the Brigade stopped recruiting exclusively from the Navy.
The first chief officer of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) Captain Sir Eyre Massey Shaw, favoured the recruitment of men from the Navy.
He felt that the trainees would be disciplined and would require less training, making the recruitment process more efficient.
It was not until Shaw’s retirement in 1899 that naval experience was no longer compulsory for new recruits.
The Brigade’s connection with the Navy continues in the terminology they still use today.
For example, ropes are called ‘lines,’ equipment is ‘stowed’ on a fire engine, and there is a ‘watch’ rather than a shift system.
One of Andy Roe’s first jobs has been to sign the London Fire Brigade up to the Armed Forces Covenant.
The agreement formalises the Brigade’s commitment to supporting the Armed Forces community and recognises the contribution to the country that serving military personnel, veterans and their families have made and continue to make.
It also sets out for the first time a clear framework outlining how London Fire Brigade staff who are reservists are supported, should they be called upon serve.
The Brigade has committed to having up to 85 members of staff available to serve with the Volunteer Reserve Forces (VRF) of the army, air force or Navy.
The final decision remains with the Brigade ahead of any deployment, but this commitment enshrines it as an armed forces friendly organisation.
London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe said:
“It is a great honour that one of my first official duties is to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, which shows our commitment to supporting both London Fire Brigade staff who are reservists and the wider military family.
“I am extremely proud of the Brigade’s on-going association with the British Armed Forces and the sacrifices our staff have made in protecting the nation.”
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