In the community
Kent Fire and Rescue Service has actively taken steps to break down barriers and engage with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Through our research and engagement with the LGBT community, we identified that this group can be more at risk due to their lifestyles and their perception of service providers which may include fear of homophobic and discriminatory attitudes.
We know that:
- 75 per cent of LGBT people aged 50 and over live alone
- 80 per cent grow older as a single person with no significant other
- LGBT people are five times less likely to access public service, fearing discrimination and homophobic reactions (data from Age UK).
Add to that everyday risk factors such as health problems and associated medication, drinking and smoking, and the risk of a fire in the home is significantly increased.
By raising understanding of these risks, we can reduce the threat to this group. We have actively engaged with the LGBT community by attending Pride events, actively supporting the annual LGBT History Month and ensuring that staff are aware of issues affecting the LGBT community.
In the workplace
Kent Fire and Rescue Service has an LGBT group (Rainbow Forum) and an internal LGBT website which provides information, guidance and contacts for staff.
The Rainbow Forum aims to raise awareness and promote a workplace where people feel able to be open about their own sexual orientation, recognising that people are happier and perform better in the workplace when they feel that they can be themselves.
We now have a number of 'out' LGBT role models, who are prepared to support and encourage others.
We are proud to have become a Stonewall Champion.