Elvis & Kresse (also sold at Social Supermarket) creates beautifully crafted luggage and accessories like overnight bags, washbags and belts, all made from decommissioned fire hose that is salvaged from the British Fire Brigade. A few years back, they did use up some recycled leather but that appears to have gone now, so all items should hopefully be vegan-friendly.
In red or yellow, the company offers a repair-for-life on the entire collection and 50% of profits are given The Fire Fighters Charity, which offers support to serving and retired firefighters with everything from physical and mental health issues, to nursing support for injuries. Its dedicated centre in Cumbria helps firefighters and their families also with illness, from strokes and MS to motor neurone disease.
how to help our heroic firefighters
There isn’t a more heroic job than a firefighter, is there? In 2020, London Fire Brigade also rescued over 300 cats and birds, 73 dogs, 61 foxes, 17 horses, 17 deer and 7 squirrels. They also put out wildfires and fires caused by fire lanterns.
The best ways we can help is to not drop cigarette litter (like a match to paper on dry land), install smoke alarms (your fire service will check for vulnerable people) and get them checked and throw out dodgy electrics (use safer oil-powered radiators over convector heaters) and clean gas vents, flues and chimneys. Swap chip pans for air-fryers with safety cutouts. Cook without loose hair or floaty sleeves, face pan handles inwards and keep a mini extinguisher nearby.
a field guide to thriving in tough times
Firefighter Zen is a really interesting book by a retired firefighter in the US. He takes the lessons he learned from working in a very stressful job, to let you know that you can be calm, just like him! Hersch Wilson spent his working life walking towards danger and suffering, rather than running away from it. In this unique collection of true stories, he shows you how to stay grounded while navigating danger, comforting others and responding to personal problems. It’s how we cope with these events (rather than the events themselves) that define the quality of our lives.
thought vegans were weak & weedy?
If you think that vegans are weedy and would fall over if you brushed them with a feather, meet Jade Konkel-Roberts, a vegan Scottish rugby player, who has played at national level for over 10 years. And in her ‘other life’, she is a serving firefighter.
Rip Esseltyn is a former US fightfighter who promotes the plant-strong lifestyle (he’s the son of the first cardiologist to reverse heart disease in patients through diet, proven on angiograms). At 60, he became world record holder in 200 metre backstroke for his age group!
We think Fiona Oakes is one of the most amazing people on the planet. Missing one kneecap, she nevertheless trained to become a firefighter. Then she opened a farm sanctuary for rescued animals. Now she runs marathons to raise money, while also fighting fires!