Highest-Ranking Female UK Firefighter Promoted

Danielle "Dany" Cotton has been appointed assistant commissioner of the London Fire Brigade’s 7,000-person workforce.

The London Fire Brigade announced Feb. 16 that Danielle "Dany" Cotton, already its highest-ranking female operational firefighter, has been promoted to assistant commissioner of the brigade's 7,000-person workforce. She had been an Area Manager since 2007 and was the first woman firefighter appointed to that level. LFB is the largest UK fire and rescue service.

Cotton received the Queens Fire Service Medal in 2004 and has racked up other honors since she completed her fire service training in 1988 and going to work at the Wimbledon Fire Station. She'd been on the job three months when she and others from that station responded to a rail crash that killed 35 people, according to the brigade's announcement. It says Cotton has chaired the UK branch of the Networking Women in the Fire Service for six years.

"People's attitude to women serving as firefighters has improved out of all recognition," Cotton said. "When I joined there were very few women in the service, and now we have over 300 women firefighters in London alone. Whether you are a man or a woman, if you like the idea of something different and worthwhile, firefighting is a job for you. It can be physical, but you'll also spend a considerable amount of time working with and helping people, and there can be no better reward."

The brigade's senior management team includes Deputy Commissioner Rita Dexter, who joined the brigade as director of corporate services in 2001 and was promoted to deputy commissioner in November 2009.

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