‘Don’t let your gender get in the way’ - fresh drive to get new firefighters

Vicky Spall and the watch team at Carrow Fire Station. Pic: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.

Vicky Spall and the watch team at Carrow Fire Station. Pic: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. - Credit: Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service

“Don’t let your gender get in the way” - that’s the message from a Norfolk firefighter as a new recruitment drive is launched to fill vacancies in the county’s fire stations.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service is looking to employ new whole time firefighters to fill the 16 vacancies in Norwich, Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn and Thetford.

And Vicky Spall, assigned to a watch at Carrow Fire Station in Norwich, said women should not be put off from applying to join.

She said: “Definitely go for it. It wasn’t easy to get where I am now but there are a lot of people out there who are willing to help.

“Focus on your fitness and have confidence in yourself. Don’t let your gender get in the way. Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service has never viewed me as any different – I am just one of the team.”

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Traditionally, fewer women than men have applied to be firefighters, but there has been a slight increase - Home Office figures from November last year showed 6.4pc of firefighters nationally were women, compared to 3.6pc in 2009. The recruitment process includes physical and written tests and new recruits must complete a 12-week training course.

Stuart Ruff, chief fire officer, said: “While fighting fires and carrying out rescues will always continue to be a core part of the role of the modern firefighter, other aspects of our work have changed a lot over the years.

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“The diverse nature of our role, our crucial work with the community and with our partner agencies, means we want the best people to provide the best service we can.

“As well as the physical requirements of the job, you’ll also need to be a team player with qualities like problem solving and leadership skills and the ability to communicate well with a wide range of people.”

Margaret Dewsbury, cabinet member for communities and partnerships at Norfolk County Council, said: “As a firefighter you will protect people, the environment and property from a huge range of emergencies. As well as putting out fires, you could be rescuing people, providing emergency care and responding to storm and flood threat.

“One of your most important roles will be working closely with the local community to increase fire safety awareness which helps to prevent fire and accidents happening in the first place.

“We welcome applications from across our community, including women and people from BAME backgrounds who are currently under-represented in the service.”

For more information visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/beafirefighter

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