Station's only female firefighter calling for more women to sign up
PUBLISHED: 11:00 07 December 2019
A fire station's only female firefighter says she is 'shocked' people are surprised to see a woman at incidents.
Katherine Shaw, Blagdon Fire Station's first female firefighter, is calling for more women to consider joining the rescue service.
She joined Avon Fire and Rescue Service during 2018 as an on-call firefighter.
She also works at OCS, at Bristol Airport, helping people with reduced mobility or other hidden disabilities travel.
While at the rescue service, she has been able to learn new skills as well as helping communities.
But now Katherine is calling for more women to consider working taking the same vocational path.
Katherine, aged 26, said: "It's no secret women are under-represented in the fire service. With currently just six per cent of operational staff female, there is definitely room for improvement.
"I'm regularly shocked by the general public's surprise when they see I'm a woman.
"We all pass the same testing, we all work together in the same uniforms and we achieve great things as one big team.
"I wanted to join the service to help my community but also I like to keep fit and I felt my skills and experiences matched the role.
"It has also been an excellent way of meeting like-minded people and given me a completely new direction for my future career. You don't have to want to be a full time firefighter to enjoy this role. The skills you learn from it are transferrable to your main employment and home life too. It really is a win win."
On-call firefighters provide support from home or at the workplace. They need to live or work within five minutes travelling distance of their station during their hours of declared availability.
On-call firefighters can earn more than £3,000 a year by offering full cover alongside their family and work life.
Sean Spearing, Blagdon station manager said: "Katherine is a fantastic example of some of the amazing ambitious and inclusive staff we have here at Avon Fire.
"Being an on-call firefighter is extremely rewarding, allows you to develop new skills and provides a second income, and we would love for our crews to be more representative of their communities."
For more information about being an on-call firefighter, visit www.bit.ly/37FjL83