No future for Fireman Sam in Lancashire says county's fire service as 'outdated' mascot faces the axe across the UK

Fireman Sam and Milkshake! presenters before his reputation was brought into disrepute on Wednesday (September 11) Credit: Channel 5
Fireman Sam and Milkshake! presenters before his reputation was brought into disrepute on Wednesday (September 11) Credit: Channel 5

The future does not look bright for Fireman Sam in Lancashire after the county's fire service distanced itself from the popular children's TV character.


It follows yesterday's furore over the decision by Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service to axe Fireman Sam as its mascot because he is considered 'outdated' and not inclusive enough.

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire service said: "Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service does not have a mascot.

"The Service has a couple of costumes that are used during station open days and other events to help firefighters engage with young children but this does not include a Fireman Sam costume."

In July, a local business donated a Fireman Sam-themed bouncy castle as part of a community open day hosted by Ormskirk Fire Station.

But in Lancashire, Fireman Sam has never been a feature of the fire service's community outreach activities.

Welephant has been the proud mascot of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service for more than 20 years

Welephant has been the proud mascot of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service for more than 20 years

For more than 20 years, the gender-neutral Welephant, a red elephant cartoon character with a firefighters helmet, has served as its mascot.

READ MORE: Fireman Sam dropped as service mascot amid claims he's not inclusive enough

On Wednesday (September 11), Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service said it would be axing Fireman Sam after receiving negative feedback about the cheerful male firefighter.

It said Fireman Sam, who has protected the fictional Welsh town of Pontypandy from infernos for more than 30 years, was not considered "inclusive enough".

Welephant with Lancashire school children in 1989

Welephant with Lancashire school children in 1989

According to Government statistics, 5.2% of firefighters in England were women in 2017.

The service said Sam has been fired with immediate effect from his role as a mascot.

Now the force's other mascots - fire extinguisher-shaped Freddy, Filbert and Penelope - will be used in place of Fireman Sam.

Lincolnshire's Chief Fire Officer, Les Britzman, said the mascot was "outdated" and did not help sell the fire safety message.

Welephant and Lancashire firefighters at an open day in 1989

Welephant and Lancashire firefighters at an open day in 1989

He said: "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."

The decision has polarised public opinion, sparking a national debate on whether Fireman Sam should be resigned from his role as a mascot across the UK.

However, the decision has been heavily criticised on social media.

One Twitter user said: "This increasing desire to remove men from being role models is getting ridiculous."

Fireman Sam (centre) has parted ways with old friends Freddy (blue) and Filbert (red) after Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service axed him on Wednesday (September 11)

Fireman Sam (centre) has parted ways with old friends Freddy (blue) and Filbert (red) after Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service axed him on Wednesday (September 11)

Another added: "They've really axed Fireman Sam for being a male? This is the world our children are growing up in! Being male is now a problem?"

However, London Fire Brigade supported the decision and wrote on Twitter: "The use of the outdated term Fireman ingrains especially in the young that it is a male only role.

"We've been called firefighters for 30 years and just ask everyone to call us our job title. And that will stop excluding our women firefighters & encourage more to join."

Earlier this year, the service accused children's TV show Fireman Sam and Peppa Pig of being sexist for using the term "fireman" instead of "firefighter" during an episode.