Firefighters in Entertainment – Is it a realistic portrayal?

“As a serving wholetime firefighter I’d just like to get off my chest that the way firefighters are portrayed in the majority of films and TV programmes REALLY irritates me.”

This is both true of productions here in the UK and ‘across the pond’ in the US, where time and time again the role of the firefighter is not allocated the respect it deserves – instead it’s glamourised beyond belief, adhered to ridiculous ‘fireman calendar’ stereotypes, or set in a plot that is ridiculous and quite frankly feels offensive and condescending.

The 2018 drama which aired on FOX, 9-1-1, was a prime example of this. In the very first episode one of the firefighters is seen taking a fire engine out without permission, driving dangerously and blasting through red lights to have ‘hook-ups’ with women.

“Even when the firefighter role is given a mention, or walk-on part in a TV series or movie, it’s often, again, written in in a grossly stereotyped way.”

My wife is a Sex and the City fan, and every time the episode airs where one of the women turns up at the fire station and starts ‘getting it on’ with one of the firefighters (he’s also written as being incredibly unintelligent, ‘all brawn and no brains’…) I have to leave the room.

Of course there are movies and films which do show clearly the dangers and challenges we face every day on the job – but again these are often unrealistic, with vital details missed or incorrect. It’s clearly evident that the research done has been lazy at best.

And we don’t all look like the six foot plus muscled Adonises that these types of film show either!

“Also I can’t help but think of the increasingly TV obsessed younger generation, who may be influenced by such things.”

We need people applying to the Fire Service for the right reasons, because it’s their dream and their vocation, not because they think it’s exciting, will make them look ‘hard’ and manly, or make them instantly more attractive to the opposite sex.

Simply put it’s an insult to the fire service and the job we do to portray firefighters unrealistically. We dedicate our lives to the service, and sacrifice our time with our family and loved ones, putting ourselves at great risk.

It’s a hard job, physically and mentally. And I wouldn’t want to do anything else.

But I’m proud of my career, and to be part of the UK Fire Service – I would just like to see this more accurately represented to the viewing public.


What’s your opinion on Firefighters in entertainment and how they are portrayed?
We’d love to hear your views – comment below!

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FRS Team

Our team of experts have the many years of Fire Service experience and are up to date with the latest selection news.

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