Leicestershire Fire and Rescue has launched a new scheme to support its lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender firefighters and staff.
The shOUT! network will offer advice and raise awareness of LGBT issues within the county fire service.
Scores of people gathered at central fire station, in Lancaster Road, on Thursday to promote the launch of the service.
The chief fire officer Dave Webb, who retires in April, was joined by former deputy chief constable of Leicestershire Police and councillor Susan Barton, the central fire authority’s lead on equality.
Mr Webb said “Providing support to LGBT staff is vitally important to the fire and rescue service.
“By doing so we can help to ensure that staff can be comfortable as themselves at work and so perform to the very best of their abilities.
“This essentially makes for a more comfortable and pleasant workplace and helps to us to continue to deliver the best service to our communities.
“Launching shOUT is a great step in helping us to achieve these aims and I am absolutely delighted to be part of it”
The event featured talks from Leicestershire and Cheshire firefighters about LGBT and a scheme called, Straight Ally - which sees heterosexual colleagues help promote LGBT issues in the workplace.
The shOUT! network will also work with other similar projects in Leicestershire organised by the police and ambulance services.
Paul Fitzgerald, CEO at the LGBT Centre, Leicester, which supported the event, said: “The LGBT Centre works hard to support our LGBT communities.
“Our work with employers such as Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service is a vital part of this.
“In working with them we help them to understand the benefits of supporting their LGBT staff and how their services can be tailored and targeted to the needs of the LGBT communities in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.”