More Women Firefighters

Ruth Walkerdine (far left), Michelle Townsend (far right) and Sarah Cartwright (front right) spoke about their life as firefighters to would be recruits at Market Drayton fire station. L to r: Rachel Thomas, Emma Owen and Becca Peace-Winn with (front) Laura Crew and Camilla Edwards.

More women from across Shropshire want to become firefighters after attending the latest taster session at a county fire station.

A total of ten toured Market Drayton fire station on Saturday to hear about how firefighting is a career choice for both men and women at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

They were shown around fire appliances, tried on fire kit for size and put on breathing apparatus under instruction from the Market Drayton crew.

They chatted to firefighters, learned about the recruitment process and checked out the equipment including receiving instruction on how to climb ladders safely.

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 to join.

Hospital porter Becca Peace-Winn (25), a karate green belt, of Maesbury Marsh, near Oswestry, said she intended to put in an application: “This is something I’ve always been interested in. It’s exciting.”

Sales co-ordinator Laura Crew, of Hollinswood, Telford, who is a boxing coach, said she came along to the taster day because she wanted to do something for the community. 

Rachel Thomas, from Morda, near Oswestry, was encouraged to attend the taster day by a firefighter she met on the next treadmill at the gym. 

“To help people and be part of such a team and give something back is just inspiring. I really want to do it.”

Property Manager Camilla Edwards (24), who works across the road from the fire station, said she intended to work on her fitness in the gym.

“I want to do something that feels important and to help people in their real time of need.”

Firefighter Ruth Walkerdine, from Hodnet, told would be recruits: “Firefighting is anything but glamorous but you are there to do the best you can and help people.”

Watch Manager Mark Smith encouraged anyone who was interested to visit their local fire station during their weekly drill session where they would be welcomed.

“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.

“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.

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.

For more information call 01743 260441 or visit the careers section and fill in a questionnaire. Follow the fire service on Facebook: and follow us on twitter:

17th September, 2017