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London Fire Brigade awarded ‘Brigade Level 5’ by the Local Government Equality Standard

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The London Fire Brigade is the only service to achieve Brigade Level 5

London Fire Brigade is leading the way in equality and diversity within the UK's fire and rescue services.

External assessors recently awarded the London Fire Brigade the 'Brigade Level 5' of the Local Government Equality Standard -- the only fire service to have reached this level of achievement.

The Equality Standard measures how public sector organisations such as councils, health, police and fire authorities are performing in the area of equality and diversity.

Chairman of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, Cllr Brian Coleman AM FRSA said: "I am delighted that the Brigade has been recognised for leading the UK fire and rescue service on equality and diversity. Equality should run across everything we do as a fire service, from the staff who work for the Brigade to the way we deliver fire safety advice to London's many different communities."

The brigade is constantly striving to increase the number of women and black minority ethnic (BME) staff it employs -- both as firefighters and in non-operational roles. There are currently around 600 BME and 230 women firefighters, while 26% of the Brigade's support staff are from BME backgrounds and 47% are women.

For the last four years London Fire Brigade also been placed as the UK's top gay friendly fire and rescue service in Stonewalls' 'Workplace Equality Index 2009'.

As well as employment initiatives that aim to create employment opportunities and maximise the potential of all its staff, assessors also looked at the brigade's work promoting community cohesion and fire safety within the capital's hard to reach communities.

Assessors visited the brigade in October and talked to London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson, key directors and heads of service, London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority's Equalities' Councillor Rebekah Gilbert, Borough Commanders and representatives from trade unions and staff support groups.

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