Volunteer Firefighter International

UK: Female Firefighters Talk Acceptance from Fire Service, Public

By Faima Bakar, Metro:

Firefighters – they’re pretty impressive aren’t they? Even the moniker oozes cool but for women in the profession, it comes with a dark downside. Despite literally saving lives, female firefighters are often met with ignorant comments regarding their gender.

To shed some light on the everyday lives of women in the force, some female firefighters around Somerset have opened up about their experience. The blaze tacklers have spoken out about fighting misconceptions over their roles in the hope it might encourage others to join the service.

Most are the first – and only – members of their sex at their stations – which can bring its own unique challenges.

Katherine Shaw, 26, signed up to work on-call last year – meaning she has to be ready to go for 84 hours a week. She loves the job and said she has never struggled with prejudice from colleagues, but has received a few comments from members of the public.

She said: ‘Within the service, it’s such old news that girls are part of it…. ‘It’s more shock from the public – you tell somebody you’re in training and what you’ve done. ‘They struggle with what to call you. It’s usually ‘fireman, oh, ooh, err…”. It really doesn’t matter – [call us] anything.’

Read the full story here.

Image: Tom Wren, SWNS

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