Retained firefighter Peter Barrat on board the Topaz responder

Refugees risking it all

The inside account of one retained firefighter’s month-long deployment to the frontline of Europe’s refugee crisis. William Murphy reports. Four days go by without any action. A storm raging over the Mediterranean has interrupted the smugglers’ schedule of boat launches. Then, on the fifth day, a...

Ex-servicemen turned firefighters Tam McFarlane & Steve Hoare

The ties that bind

The ties that bind our armed forces and the fire service run deep and must be remembered, particularly at this time of year, writes Tam McFarlane. As an ex-serviceman and firefighter, I am often struck by the high profile role the fire service has in Remembrance Sunday events across the UK. There...

firefighter tackles flames

I'll be glad when bonfire night is over

South west London area chair David Waterman reflects on what bonfire night means for him. As a boy growing up in south London, I remember being really excited in the run up to Guy Fawkes night. The construction of a huge bonfire on a communal green near my home was something my friends and I took...

Mark Thomas

"Performing is all about change"

Helen Hague talks to activist performer Mark Thomas, whose acclaimed new show, The Red Shed, goes to the heart of the issues facing working people today. When Mark Thomas moved from London to Wakefield in West Yorkshire to study drama in the early 1980s he soon found himself drawn to “the 47ft long...

Firefighter George Arthur Roberts

A pioneer honoured

The man thought to have been Britain’s first black firefighter has been honoured, posthumously, with a blue plaque and a ceremony to commemorate his work throughout the blitz during the Second World War. The plaque is now on the wall of the former South London home of George Arthur Roberts, who...

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary

Cuts, and those who force them through, must be resisted

During September our members in Greater Manchester were facing a bleak future. More than 1,250 firefighters faced the sack – only those who agreed to sign up to worse conditions of service would be re-engaged. Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service has to find savings of more than £14m, but...

London fire stations sold off

Safety for sale

As the new mayor of London orders a review of the city’s firefighting capacity, Helen Hague looks at two historic threats to the capital’s safety – the Great Fire and Boris Johnson. When Thomas Farriner, the King’s baker, forgot to shut down his ovens on Pudding Lane in early September 1666, he...

Fifty three American flags were placed on the green lawn in front of Fire Station 5 – one for each victim

Checking Orlando's Pulse

Firefighters in the Florida city of Orlando responded to the worst mass shooting in recent US history. William Murphy reports on how they coped and how they plan to recover. In the early hours of Sunday 12 June, 29-year-old Omar Mateen walked into the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida and...

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