Ice creams, fountains and smiles were the order of the day as Humberside Fire and Rescue Service launched their latest wrapped engine to the press and public in front of the City Hall. Under the watchful eye of Queen Victoria, passing shoppers and visitors were anything but 'not amused' as the striking vehicle emerged into the square on the stroke of 11am.
It seemed fitting that the new engine was unveiled alongside the fountains in the newly re-paved square which was given a makeover in time for UK City of Culture celebrations. Both signs of real progress and hope for the future.
The fire engine has been designed as a platform to raise awareness by focusing on and talking about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues. HFRS is committed to ensuring that individuals, including its staff and all communities across Humberside, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, remain safe and are able to engage with the Service.
The aim is to get people talking about LGBT topics in a more confident and open way. The quote ‘Fire doesn’t discriminate, neither do we’ appears on both sides of the engine. This key message gives the Fire Service a chance to start open conversations with both staff and the community it serves and protects.
During the second annual UK Pride Organisers' Conference 2016, delegates designated Pride in Hull 2017 the first ever ‘UK Pride’ during the city’s reign as UK City of Culture 2017. With a lot of attention being on Hull, it was felt this would be an appropriate opportunity to promote inclusion, as well as positive action for recruitment.
The new engine, to be housed at Calvert Lane Fire Station will head the Hull section of the Pride in London parade on Saturday 8 July before coming back 'home' to play a leading role in the Hull event on Saturday 22 July.
Chief Fire Officer Dene Sanders (pictured centre with Pride in Hull's Andy Train flanked by the crew) was delighted to launch the latest wrapped engine:
"We are really proud as a Service to work with Andy and the Pride in Hull team to add this engine to our already colourful fleet. We have moved on significantly as a service in equality and diversity, but there is still a long way to go within organisations such as ours and the wider community we serve. The very fact that we have an engine wrapped like this as we approach the LGBT 50 celebrations as part of our City of Culture year shows how much progress has been made. We look forward to a colourful summer showcasing the engine around events in Hull and beyond."