Congratulations to the Fire Brigades Union

Fire Brigades Union turns 100

The Firefighters’ Story: 100 years of the Fire Brigades Union

A new documentary style film, The Firefighters’ Story: 100 years of the Fire Brigades Union, was launched at Bristol’s Cube cinema on Sunday, 4 February, on the anniversary of the death of firefighter Fleur Lombard, who died on duty after arsonists set a supermarket alight in 1996.

Tam McFarlane, FBU south west EC member, opened the special screening and chaired a lively Q & A session afterwards with FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack. Among the audience asking questions were 3 Labour MPs – Thangam Debonnaire, Kerry McCarthy and David Drew, former Fire Authority Chair Terry Walker and ex councillor Rosalie Walker and South West TUC secretary Nigel Costley.

The hour long film traces the history of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) since its inception at the end of the First World War, and the contribution the union has made over ten decades to improve public and firefighter safety through its campaigning work. Known as ‘tombstone legislation’ these improvements generally follow big fire incidents such as the Manchester Woolworths fire of 1979 which resulted in a ban on foam filled furniture. The Firefighters’ Story, narrated by actress Sue Johnson of The Royle Family fame, explores several major fires – such as the Glasgow Cheapside fire of 1960 in a whisky and tobacco warehouse in which 19 firefighters died – and their subsequent impact on safety. It draws to a close with the Grenfell Tower disaster. A trailer can be seen at

Look out for Firefighters Memorial Day on 4th May, when every fire station will hold a minute’s silence at noon commemorating the bravery and sacrifice of those who have lost their lives in this most dangerous profession.

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Firefighters under occupation

Firefighters under occupation

Firefighters under occupation
A film by Ciaran Gibbons
7.00pm, Thursday 19th January 2017
27 Broad St, Bristol, BS1 2HG

Firefighters Under Occupation offers a firefighter’s perspective on occupation, struggle, fear and hope, taking you on a journey from Dundee to Palestine. The military occupation of Palestine by the State of Israel is a subject that has resulted in many commentaries, films and artworks depicting the plight of Palestinians. This new film sensitively documents the lives and work of the Palestinian firefighters who work in the occupied West Bank.

An inherently dangerous job in any country, those tasked with firefighting in Palestine face two challenges: fire and the Israeli Occupation Forces. Directed by Welsh Firefighter and Fire Brigades Union (FBU) member Ciaran Gibbons, Firefighters Under Occupation documents the humanitarian support given to Palestinian firefighters by The FBU as well as the facilitation of training here in Scotland and the long standing bond between Dundee and its twin town of Nablus.

Accompanied by Dundee-based FBU facilitator Jim Malone, Gibbons travelled to Palestine and Israel in 2015 to document the upsurge in violence in the country, visiting Nablus, Ramallah, Jerusalem and flashpoint Hebron, interviewing and meeting Palestinian firefighters and their families and discussing how Israeli firefighters found a mutual respect with the FBU in Scotland.

Followed by a question and answers session with the film maker Ciaran Gibbons.