Fireman Sam has been dropped as a fire service mascot, following claims he is not inclusive enough.
Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service said it made the decision after receiving negative feedback about the mascot, from the popular children's TV show.
Now the force's other mascots - fire extinguisher-shaped Freddy, Filbert and Penelope - will be used in place of Fireman Sam.
According to Government statistics, 5.2% of firefighters in England were women in 2017.
Lincolnshire's Chief Fire Officer, Les Britzman, said the mascot was "outdated" and did not help sell the fire safety message.
Firefighters nationally and residents locally have raised some concerns that Fireman Sam doesn't reflect the fire service today, in terms of both the job itself and our workforce. "It's important to us that our open days and community events don't make anyone feel excluded and therefore we took this decision. "We always make sure that we include plenty of activities and other ways to engage children and adults, to help them learn more about fire safety and a firefighter's role."
"Women firefighters risk their lives every single day – calling them by their rightful title, firefighter, should not be too much to ask. Massive cuts to firefighter numbers and a complete lack of recruitment over the last decade have undermined any efforts to diversify the fire and rescue workforce. To add to this, the Tory government also scrapped crucial equality targets. ‘Fireman’ is an archaic term that doesn’t reflect the reality of the job – I think it’s time the producers of the show accept that."
The decision has been heavily criticised on social media:
However, London Fire Brigade supported the decision and wrote on Twitter:
Earlier this year, the service criticised children's TV show Fireman Sam and Peppa Pig of being sexist for using the term "fireman" instead of "firefighter" during an episode.
The issue was discussed on Good Morning Britain: