Fire Brigades Union Turns 100
This year will mark 100 years since the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), the first and only UK trade union to champion the specific needs of all firefighters, was founded in 1918. Some 85% of all firefighters are members.
To mark this historic milestone the FBU is planning a year of events to celebrate the achievements of firefighters and their union over the past century. Before the union’s birth, firefighters were more frequently killed or seriously burned as a result of the job, not least because they then had neither breathing apparatus nor clothing that would protect them from fire. They were forced to live on stations continuously with no access to holiday or sick pay. Pensions were unheard of.
In its first 100 years the FBU has secured extensive rights, protections and safety standards for firefighters. But the union’s centenary isn’t just a celebration for those in the fire community, says the union’s current leader. It is a celebration everyone should be invested in because the union’s campaigning has meant the public has benefitted from improved safety standards over the years.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said:
“This is an opportunity for firefighters and the communities they serve to take a long look down the road we have travelled over the last ten decades. We hope that celebrating our history as an independent and democratic organisation for firefighters will help us secure this vital life-saving service for the future.
“As we think about the contribution of firefighters over the past hundred years, we want to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of the many firefighters, members of our union, who have given their lives in the line of duty and in the service of their communities over the last 100 years.
"We want to draw attention to the lessons of the many tragedies we have dealt with and the improvements to public safety which have often followed such tragedies. And we want to leave a legacy by building our ‘Firefighters 100 Lottery’ which is already doing valuable work to help firefighters and bereaved families and other victims of fire today.
“Over the next 12 months, we want to engage with as many people as possible about the history and work of the Fire Brigades Union. We are extremely proud of our legacy. By the end of this year, we hope you will be too.”
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Fire Brigades Union Turns 100, 25th January 2018, 15:06 PM