London Fire Brigade

Rapping firefighter hopes lyrics will save lives

10 September 2007

PLEASE NOTE: Supporting material for journalists includes high resolution images of Stephen-remell Coleman, audio files and a DVD for print/broadcast. All are available on request from London Fire Brigade’s press office – 020 7587 4064/07766 768 675. Stephen-remell Coleman is available for interview.

A firefighter is hoping to use music to protect Londoners, after writing ‘Got Mine Got Yours?’ - a rap about how smoke alarms save lives (view video at http:/­/­www.youtube.com/­watch?v=wt6hNqzOviw ).

Stephen-remell Coleman approached Fire Brigade managers about using his musical talents to get fire safety messages out to a young urban audience, and received the go ahead soon afterwards.

Within weeks the track had been professionally produced and the video was being shot at Wimbledon Fire Station featuring Stephen-remell and other London firefighters in action. Lyrics warn people not to be complacent about fire and include:

“What’s the harm in putting up a smoke alarm?
Like a lucky charm watching over pops and moms,
Bros and sis, it’s peace of mind knowing this
That a little (beep beep) can save you and the kids”

Stephen-remell is a firefighter on Wimbledon Fire Station’s Red Watch, but in his free time performs as a rapper under the name ‘Controversy’. He said: “I’ve been writing poetry since the age of 11 and performing since the age of 14. I thought of the Got Mine Got Yours project as a result of wanting to raise awareness fire safety in low income, ethnic communities. All manner of views, opinions and ideas can be freely expressed using hip hop, and I guess this is why I want to use it in putting out this message.”

There are thousands of accidental fires and around 50 fire deaths every year in London. Many fires, and the injuries and damage they cause, could have been avoided if people were more aware of the risks. London Fire Brigade is hoping that ‘Got Mine, Got yours’ will raise awareness of simple measures that Londoners can take that could save their life.

Val Shawcross, Chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority said: “We’re grateful to Stephen-remell for coming up with this idea and it’s great to be involved in a new way of promoting fire safety. Stephen-remell will have credibility with young people, who might not be interested in traditional publicity. Every person who listens to this track, then fits a smoke alarm or becomes more aware of fire safety, has potentially saved themselves and their family from serious injury or worse. ”

“We decided to try out the rap for the first time at the Notting Hill Carnival and it got a great response. We’ll now be publicising Got Mine Got Yours and using it at Brigade events. Apart from the obvious safety messages, we hope young Londoners will see the video and consider the fire service as a career.”

‘Got mine, got yours?’ promotes smoke alarm ownership and the Brigade’s free home fire safety visits. Londoners can call a freephone number and arrange for a visit from local firefighters, who will chat to them about fire risks and fit free smoke alarms if they are needed. Call 08000 28 44 28 to arrange a visit.

Find out more about Controversy at http://www.myspace.com/­controversyworld

Note to editors:
Stephen is 28 years old and joined London Fire Brigade around 18 months ago.
He is currently carrying out his firefighter development programme at Wimbledon Fire Station.
Stephen performs under the name Controversy http://www.myspace.com/­controversyworld
‘Got mine got yours’ was produced with the help of Simple Simon and fingersinpies.com
To find out more about becoming a London firefighter visit www.london-fire.gov.uk

Members of the media can obtain further information from the press office on:

telephone number: 020 8536 5922
email: press@london-fire.gov.uk