More women are wanted as “on call” county firefighters in a continuing campaign being run by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.
With just six per cent of female firefighters, the service wants to encourage more women to join with the latest of a series of “taster” days being held at Market Drayton Fire Station on Saturday, September 16 from 9.30am to 12.30.
Watch Manager Mark Smith says: “Once the fire kit is worn, the public don’t know which are men and women, except many tend to assume they are all males, which is wrong.
“It is hard work to get in the fire service and you have to maintain your fitness but it is a very rewarding job where you save lives and we want more women to join.”
Fitness instructor and sports centre manager Sarah Cartwright (42) is one of 17 firefighters at Market Drayton, two of them women.
After working in a sports centre for 25 years, she wanted a change and planned to train as a first responder until a leaflet advertising the fire service dropped through her door.
“It had never crossed my mind before but it’s brilliant. It’s teamwork and I work with a great team and I really enjoy it,” said Sarah, who has been to house fires, helped to rescue people in road collisions and save animals in distress, including a cow trapped in a slurry pit. She also works to educate the public on fire safety.
At the latest “taster day” in Market Drayton, visitors will be shown around fire appliances, put on fire kit and try out breathing apparatus under instruction from the Market Drayton crew.
People can talk to firefighters, learn about the recruitment process, tour the fire station and check out the equipment.
Shropshire has 429 wholetime and “on call” firefighters, including 24 women, working from 23 fire stations. With a large rural area, the county has 80 per cent of firefighters “on call” where they answer emergency calls, train weekly and have other jobs.
At Market Drayton, the firefighting team also includes MOD firefighters, prison officers, mechanics, a factory worker, estates manager and landscape gardener.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Louise McKenzie, who joined the county service 14 years ago, said: “Women have become firefighters as a direct result of attending one of our taster days and we want to encourage more to do so.”
For more information call 01743 260441 or turn up at the session in Market Drayton from 9.30am to 12.30.
For more information about what the job entails also visit the careers section at www.shropshirefire.gov.uk and fill in a questionnaire. Find us on facebook: http://facebook.com/shropsfire and follow us on twitter: http://twitter.com/shropsfire