Women who want to be Firefighters

Women who want to be firefighters turned out for a “taster” session at a Shropshire fire station.

Attending the taster session on Saturday at Oswestry Fire Station were women aged between 23 and 47 and included mums whose children were leaving for university, a child care worker, butcher, fitness instructor and a business support worker.

They learned what it takes to join the county’s 300 plus “on call” fully trained firefighters who deal with around the clock emergencies.

More “on call” fire crew, who live or work within five minutes of 23 county fire stations, are needed across the county to turn out for a set number of hours each week to answer 999 calls.

Just four per cent of the county’s firefighters are women – a figure that Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service wants to raise by training more women.

“We are keen to employ a workforce representative of the community that we serve. To achieve this we need to encourage more women to join,” said Laura Kavanagh Jones, of the county brigade.

“The number of women in the fire service is really low. It’s about breaking down stereotypes.”

Mother of two grown up children Liz Killvert (47), of Green End, Oswestry, who works in business support for a local authority, said: “I would like to do something different and this is something different.”

Butcher Rebecca Davies (23), of Fothergill Way, Wem, said she wanted a career change.

“I want a career, a change and a challenge.”

Fitness instructor Amy Gaunt (25), from Pant, turned up for the taster day after being encouraged by firefighters who use the gym where she works in Oswestry.

“I had been thinking about it so it is interesting to try the taster day.”

Watch Manager Phil Davies told them how firefighters don’t “just put out” fires and deal with road crashes but also fit smoke alarms invulnerable people’s homes, go to fetes and get involved in attending schools and community events to help prevent fires.

They are also well trained and carry out water rescues, deal with hazardous materials, crop fires and animal rescues.

A total of 15 firefighters at Oswestry dealt with 500 emergency calls last year with almost 130 of them between 9am and 5pm.

“You don’t have to give up all your spare time. You can say which hours you are available to work. You will make your neighbours extremely proud.” he told them.

Men or women, aged over 18 and physically fit, who are interested in becoming “on call” firefighters should contact Shrewsbury fire HQ on 01743 260200, visit  www.shropshirefire.gov.uk  or follow the organisation on facebook and twitter. For more information on future taster days contact Laura on 01743 260189.

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Pete White Pete White

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