Dany Cotton

Last updated on 25 October 2017

Dany Cotton, QFSM (born 11 June 1969)[1] is a British firefighter. Since 2017, she has served as the Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade and is the first woman to hold this position.[2] She had previously been the Director of Safety and Assurance at the London Fire Brigade.[3] In 2004 Cotton became the first woman to be awarded the Queen's Fire Service Medal.[4] She is the National Chair of Networking Women in the Fire Service.[5]

Dany Cotton
Commissioner of London Fire Brigade
Assumed office
1 January 2017
Preceded by Ron Dobson
Personal details
Born 11 June 1969
London, United Kingdom
Occupation Firefighter

Early life and education

Cotton was born 11 June 1969, in London.[6][7][8] She was a member of the Air Training Corps as a teenager.[9]


Cotton joined the fire brigade in 1988, her first placement was at Wimbledon Fire Station.[4] Aged 19, she had been a full fire-fighter for just three months when she attended the Clapham Junction rail crash.[7] In 2007, she was assigned the post of Area Commander, becoming the highest-ranking woman in the British Fire Service.[4] In 2010, she became Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade[10] and in 2012 Assistant Commissioner.[3]

In September 2016, Cotton was appointed interim Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade following the retirement of Ron Dobson.[9][11] She took up the position on 1 January 2017.[11] Cotton's official title will remain "Interim Commissioner" pending a restructure of the Brigade later in 2017, at which point she will become full "Commissioner".[12]

On 14 June 2017, Cotton was in overall command of the London_Fire_Brigade when faced with the massive Grenfell Tower fire which she described as "An unprecedented incident." She appeared at several media briefings to give updates on casualty figures, challenges faced and firefighters' progress.[13]

In October 2017 she highlighted Fireman Sam in a campaign fighting sexism and promoting the gender neutral term firefighter. She proposed that the children's character should be renamed Firefighter Sam.[14] Cotton said that research showed that women are put off a career in the fire service because it is seen as a job for men, and that as Fireman Sam is seen by children from an early age, he reinforces this stereotype.

Honours and awards

In 2002, Cotton was named Outstanding Public Servant of the year.[4] In the 2004 New Year Honours, Cotton became the first woman to be awarded the Queen's Fire Service Medal, given "for distinguished service."[15][4] On 30 October 2008, she was awarded the Fire Brigade Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.[16]

In 2010, she was named by The Independent as one of "100 women who changed the world".[7] In 2014, she won the Public Service Category of the First Women Awards.[17]

See also


  1. ^ "NETWORKING WOMEN IN THE FIRE SERVICE, Filing History Directors details changed, PDF". Companies House. 5 May 2010. Retrieved 2017-06-16.
  2. ^ "Interim Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton takes charge". www.london-fire.gov.uk. London Fire Brigade. 22 December 2016. Retrieved 2017-06-16.
  3. ^ a b Conner, Rachel (16 February 2012). "Orpington fighfighter top ranked woman in London Fire Brigade". News Shopper. Retrieved 2017-06-16.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Top woman for a top firefighting job". www.london-fire.gov.uk. London Fire Brigade. 5 March 2007. Retrieved 2017-06-16.
  5. ^ "Honorary Officers – Women in the Fire Service". wfs.org.uk. Retrieved 2017-06-16.
  6. ^ McVeigh, Tracy (2017-03-04). "'Hairy-arsed' macho image has to go, says London Fire Brigade's first female boss". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-06-16.
  7. ^ a b c "A century of distinction: 100 women who changed the world". The Independent. 7 March 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  8. ^ "Networking Women In The Fire Service – Company & Directors Information (UK)". site2corp.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-06-16.
  9. ^ a b "Dany Cotton, Commissioner". London Fire Brigade. Greater London Authrority. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  10. ^ McVeigh, Tracy (2017-03-04). "'Hairy-arsed' macho image has to go, says London Fire Brigade's first female boss". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-06-16.
  11. ^ a b "Interim Fire Commissioner appointed". www.london-fire.gov.uk. London Fire Brigade. 22 September 2016. Retrieved 2017-06-16.
  12. ^ "Dany Cotton: The Unsung Hero Fighting Fire With Feminism – Felix Magazine". Felix Magazine. 2017-03-14. Retrieved 2017-06-16.
  13. ^ Withnall, Adam (14 June 2017). "London Fire: Structural engineer is monitoring Grenfell Tower's stability after devastating blaze". Independent. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Why We Are Campaigning To Shake Off The Outdated Term 'Firemen'". HuffPost UK.
  15. ^ "No. 57155". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2003. p. 27.
  16. ^ "Top woman fire officer gets award for service to Londoners". London Fire Brigade. 30 October 2008. Archived from the original on 8 March 2012. Retrieved 2017-06-16.
  17. ^ "Senior fire officer hopes award will inspire other women". www.london-fire.gov.uk. London Fire Brigade. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 2017-06-16.

External links

Fire appointments
Preceded by
Ron Dobson
Interim Commissioner of London Fire Brigade

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