County’s fire service makes call for more women to join ranks

PUBLISHED: 07:58 21 September 2017 | UPDATED: 07:58 21 September 2017

Archant

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging women and people from black and minority ethnic groups to have a go at firefighting activities as part of a myth busting event.

The service is hosting two ‘have-a-go’ events on Friday and Saturday, October 13-14, to encourage more women and people from a variety of backgrounds to consider firefighting as a career.

The event, taking place at Huntingdon Fire Station, will be split into two sessions each day, from 8.30am until noon and 12.30pm until 4pm, with the Friday morning and Saturday afternoon sessions being for women only.

Those signing up can try out some of the activities that a firefighter needs to be able to do, meet those who do the job and look at some of the equipment used in the role.

Laura Marshall, recruitment manager at the service, said: “There are still many myths around the role and what it takes to be a firefighter, such as being a certain height, it being a job for the boys or needing big brawny muscles.

“But the truth is, none of these are true. The fire service has been through significant modernisation over the years and the role has changed considerably, as have the people that do the job now.

“Being a firefighter isn’t just about putting out fires and attending other emergencies, in fact that’s only a small part of what firefighters do. Much more of the time is now spent out in the local community, in schools, visiting people at home and giving fire safety talks to groups.

“We are out in the community every day. Having a workforce that is more representative of the communities we serve will help us to engage better and help keep people safer in their homes.”

Hannah Archdeacon, who has been a firefighter for nine years, said: “I attended a have-a-go event before I joined and it made me realise I could actually do the job.

“I’d been concerned about my upper body strength, which is usually where many women struggle. But I could do the tests. I knew that with some concentrated training at the gym I would be fine. I applied, got in and I love it. If you’re determined, you can do it.

“My advice would be come along and have a go. I’ll be at the events with other female firefighters and we’ll happily talk to you honestly about the job. It’s by no means glamorous but it is so rewarding and I feel so proud to put the uniform on at the start of each shift. There aren’t many jobs that will give you that feeling.”

To attend one of the sessions you must book in advance. Call 01480 444500 to book your place or e-mail recruitment@cambsfire.gov.uk.

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