A woke fire service chief has banned the use of the word ‘fireman’ by his staff, claiming it represents ‘micro-aggression’.
Dave Russel has insisted that the term will not be tolerated because it is ‘sexist’ and ‘exclusionary’.
The word has not been officially used by fire and rescue services since the late 1980s.
It was replaced with the gender-neutral ‘firefighter’, but is still often used among the public.
Greater Manchester Chief Fire Officer Mr Russel, who is paid £172,000 a year, said in an email to staff: ‘We employ firefighters not “firemen” and haven’t for decades so why use the term?
‘Here it regularly slips into people’s everyday vocabulary, and it very often goes unnoticed and unchallenged because it’s just become “the way things are around here”.
But its connotation is sexist, exclusionary and represents a form of micro-aggression that is damaging to our culture.
‘This needs to stop and the term permanently erased from our vocabulary.’
His tough stance angered Andy Morgan, a former member of Greater Manchester Fire Authority, who said: ‘It’s ridiculous. It’s wokeism gone mad.’
He said the term fireman was part of the service’s ‘long and outstanding history’, adding: ‘Yes, the world moves on, but you cannot erase the past.’
Conservative MP Scott Benton branded Mr Russel’s move ‘more nonsense’ following an earlier ‘ridiculous’ campaign to cancel children’s TV character Fireman Sam.
The row comes as the number of UK female firefighters is steadily growing but they remain a small minority.
There were 2,862 in March last year – 8.2 per cent of the total – compared with 1,833 (5.2 per cent) in 2017.