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Last updated: 07/12/2018, 2:54 PM

Firefighters hose down a record for World AIDS Day

06/12/2018 12:59
Our people

Our firefighters have set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for creating the Largest awareness ribbon made out of fire hoses for World Aids Day.

Around 50 firefighters took an hour to lay out a hose that measured 296.67 metres, smashing the standard set by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS. The ribbon was so large they had to borrow the Royal Barracks in Woolwich to ensure they had enough space.

HIV no barrier to becoming a firefighter

The record attempt was the brainchild of Watch Manager Stewart Brown, to promote the fact that being HIV positive need not be a barrier to becoming a firefighter. Since 2004, people with HIV have been allowed to serve as firefighters however, few people know about the change in policy the Brigade feels is stopping people from applying to be firefighters in the first place. The record also forms part of the Brigade’s Safer Together strategy, which aims to position London Fire Brigade as the UK's most inclusive and diverse fire and rescue service.

Watch Manager Stewart Brown said:

“I thought that by creating the world’s biggest awareness ribbon would be good way to show that you can be HIV positive within the fire service and it is not a barrier to becoming a firefighter. It is important that we send a message out that the Brigade is an inclusive organisation and we are safer together when everyone feels valued and able to contribute their best.”

Rock the ribbon

The event was held at Woolwich Barracks in support of National Aids Trust's 'Rock the Ribbon' campaign. The campaign aims to fight against the ignorance surrounding HIV and Aids.

HIV diagnoses are falling in the UK, meaning the spread of the virus is slowing down. But National Aids Trust fight is not just about the virus. There are still 101,000 people living with HIV in the UK, there is no cure, and people still face ignorance and discrimination that can limit their opportunities, preventing them from living full and happy lives. HIV means you are more likely to live in poverty, and more likely to have poor mental health.

Professor Jane Anderson chair of the board of trustee of the National Aids Trust said:

“Today we have very effective treatment which means that a person living with HIV can have the same life expectancy as anyone else. Effective treatment also means that HIV cannot be passed on. But the stigma associated with HIV remains. And that makes it even more Important to have members of London’s fire services standing for equality and against discrimination stigma, showing their solidarity -we are so much stronger together.”

Firefighters from Battersea, Chelsea Lewisham, Plumstead, Soho, Wandsworth, West Hampstead, West Norwood and Wimbledon fire stations.