East Sussex Fire & Rescue Back International Women's Day

Wednesday 8th March 2017

eastbourne buzz news - Dawn Whittaker

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is backing International Women’s Day today (8 March).

The service is leading the way by creating a dynamic and diverse workforce.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Dawn Whittaker, has just been promoted to Acting Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive from 7 April until 7 September 2017.

Dawn is actively supporting International Women’s Day and would like to encourage other women to join the Service and increase the number of women and the diversity of the workforce across the country.

As a role model for other women Dawn would like to encourage others wanting to join this exciting career and to reach the top tier of management.

Dawn said, “We know that diversity of our workforce will enable us to keep our communities safer because it enables us to understand them better.

“If we are able to do a better job we will be able to have and maintain a dynamic workforce. In turn, this will secure future jobs within the Service, as we meet the everyday needs of our community.

“If we do not embrace a diverse workforce then we will become less effective, as community engagement is key in keeping people safe. We require a diverse workforce to ensure that we bring different views and experiences together in a bid to serve the wider community.” 

The Government’s Thomas Review made it clear that the Service’s culture must change in order to highlight that women and ethnic minorities, together with all groups that make up the diversity of the working population, have a place in the fire and rescue service.  Inclusion will help secure the future of the Service for years to come by creating an all-inclusive working environment free from bullying and harassment, with strong leadership and more flexible working conditions for the teams who work in it. The Review encourages proactive steps by fire services to increase the proportion of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) and female firefighters.

Dawn added, “I am delighted that my teams in East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, understand that actively supporting inclusion events visually demonstrates our commitment to the whole community.

“Therefore, staff will be donning a purple item, such as a wristband, on Wednesday 8th March to support International Women’s Day, as well as sending posts on social media with the hashtag #BeBoldForChange. 

“I myself will be attending the annual Local Government Conference outlining future fire service improvements and will have the honour of listening to a number of outstanding women keynote speakers amongst them Dany Cotton Commissioner for London Fire Brigade, Becky Bryant, Chief Fire Officer Staffordshire and Ann Millington Chief Executive for Kent Fire and Rescue Service.”

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