London Fire Brigade

Kate Winslet offered firefighter training after daring island escape

23 August 2011

Kate Winslet - copyright Maggie JumpsLondon Fire Brigade is offering Kate Winslet the opportunity to train with firefighters after she bravely rescued Richard Branson’s mother from a fire on his multi-million pound luxury holiday island.

The Brigade, which has over 300 women firefighters, is inviting Kate to learn how crews deal with fires and also how people can prevent fires from happening in the first place. On the proposed visit, Kate would visit the Brigade’s training centre, meet trainees and experience the role of a modern day firefighter. This would include operational duties such as trying out firefighter breathing apparatus and climbing a ladder pitched against a tower block. She will also be made aware of the community safety activities that firefighting staff regularly carry out.

Kate, who helped carry Branson’s 90 year old mother, Eve, to safety would also be shown how being prepared for a fire gives people a much better chance of survival. The three important steps she would be taught are to:

1) Have a working smoke alarm
2) Have an escape route planned for the event of a fire
3) Understand that if a fire starts to get out, stay out and call 999.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, Dany Cotton, who is the highest operational woman firefighter in the country, said:

“Kate has shown true bravery and we would love her to visit the London Fire Brigade and see the work that real firefighters do at first hand. We’d remind Kate that having a working smoke alarm and an escape plan are extremely important in cutting the risk of dying or being injured in a fire.”

“Kate has shown that women can carry out rescues just as well as men. I hope her actions will encourage more women to think about becoming a firefighter.”


Notes to editors:
In the event of a fire, the Brigade advises:
• Do not stop to investigate the fire or to collect valuables or pets.
• Use your escape route to get everyone out and meet at an agreed point. 
• Close any doors which are open, and only open the doors you need to go through. This will help to stop the fire spreading so rapidly. 
• Check doors with the back or your hand. If a door is warm, don’t open it, the fire is on the other side. 
• If there is a lot of smoke, crawl along the floor as the air is cleaner.
• Once you’ve got everyone out of the building, call 999 from any phone. Give the operator your name and address.
• Don’t go back into the building for anything. If there is still someone inside, tell firefighters when they arrive they will be able to find the person quicker and more safely than you. 
• Find somewhere safe to wait for the Brigade. When they arrive, try to give them as much information as possible about the fire and building.