Fire service is great career, say firewomen

A CAMPAIGN to get more Suffolk women to join the fire service has been backed by women in the job.

Firefighters Maria Buxton and Rosie Carlick agreed with crew leader Linda Dacey at Ixworth Fire Station when she said: “We three would definitely, thoroughly recommend the fire service as a career. It gives you wonderful opportunities and they’re good employers.”

With three of the 12 crew female, Ixworth stands out because only three per cent of fire fighters nationally are women and they make up only five per cent of Suffolk’s service.

Linda was the first woman at Ixworth six years ago, but said: “The guys have no trouble with women in the service. They know we’re not here to compete with them, we all work together.

“We all have the same skill set and contribute to the team, though we don’t have the strength of the guys.

“It’s a better place with us here because we think differently to men. They will say we’ll do this, this and this and we’ll say ‘why not do that?’ They’ll say’ why didn’t we think of that?’.”

Linda stressed that woman firefighters do not have to be burly: the Ixworth three are all 5ft 4in and weigh nine or 10 stone.

“We all wear size six shoes and size 30 waist trousers,” she added. “We’re just normal 5ft 4in women.”

To encourage women to join, the Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service has an open morning at Lowestoft South Fire Station on Monday, 10am to 2pm.

Though it is aimed at the East of the county there are also positions available in Mildenhall, Ixworth, Elmswell, Needham Market, Eye, Haverhill, and Nayland.

Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for public protection said: “Becoming a firefighter is something we are passionate about encouraging more women to consider – it is absolutely not just a job for men.”

Anyone interested in attending the event should contact Tracey Biggs on 01502 524100 tracey.biggs@suffolk.gov.uk or Karen Elliott on 07780 220248 karen.elliott@suffolk.gov.uk For recruitment information contact Russell Punchard on 01473 260588 or russell.punchard@suffolk.gov.uk