London officer is UK's highest-ranking operational woman firefighter

Published:  20 February, 2012

London Fire Brigade’s Dany Cotton has confirmed her position as the UK’s highest-ranking operational woman firefighter following her appointment to the role of Assistant Commissioner of the Brigade’s 7,000-strong workforce. 

Dany’s latest success follows being the first woman firefighter in the UK to be appointed an Area Manager in 2007, the first to be awarded the Queens Fire Service Medal in 2004 and being named Outstanding Public Servant of the Year in a competition organised by Public Finance Magazine and the Cabinet Office in 2002. In 2010 she was included in the Independent on Sunday’s list of  the 100 British women who have done most to shape the world we live in today.

After successfully completing her fire service training in 1988, Dany was posted to Wimbledon Fire Station where after only three months she was on the scene at the Clapham rail crash which killed 35 people. She attained the first of her many groundbreaking promotions after seven years as an operational firefighter and currently coordinates the Brigade’s service delivery responsibilities. Among the many incidents she has attended was the Cutty Sark fire in 2007, where she led firefighting operations in front of an onlooking world audience.

Aside from her day-to-day responsibilities, Dany has led from the front in championing the role of women firefighters, chairing the UK branch of the influential Networking Women in the Fire Service for over six years.

Dany said; “People’s attitude to women serving as firefighters has improved out of all recognition. 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 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 appointment was confirmed following a comprehensive assessment process and an interview by members of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority’s Appointments Committee. Chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority  Councillor Brian Coleman said: "I am delighted to welcome a woman to such a senior operational post. This is welcome news for the UK fire service.”

Dany lives in Orpington, Kent. Among her many hobbies are mountain biking, fitness training, skiing and watching rugby.

  • Operation Florian

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