My Daughter the Firefighter

This week we were lucky enough to visit a local firestation to see the firefighters, their gear and what they get up to during the day. It was absolutely amazing. These men and women are some of the bravest people in any country. They are the people that run into danger when everyone else is running out. When you think of every dangerous situation that has happened in recent years the fire service has been there to ensure the safety of others – to me, that says it all!! So, I decided to take Jade along and let her see what this particular occupation was all about… As always, my first port of call was the Internet to order the appropriate workwear but when I was looking at the outfits online, I wasn’t *overly* surprised that all of the firefighter outfits were for little boys. So then I had a look to see what percentage of firefighters are female. My first google search turned up FHM’s “Female Fire Fighters that Bring the Heat”, I was expecting stories of bravery, life-saving tales and funny anecdotes… what I got was “10 Sexy Female Firefighters”!! I was a little disappointed but then I thought, well if the men can do a calendar and raise money for important charities then why not the women too? However, after discovering that just 4% of firefighters are female I realised that maybe FHM is not interested in furthering the cause for women within the service!! Looking online I found a huge debate around female firefighters that was both interesting and strange at the same time. Basically, the debate centred whether or not female firefighters should have different physical requirements to male firefighters – a question which really divides opinion. Personally, I believe that if a female wants to get to the physical level of her peers that she absolutely can do it and I imagine that women serving as firefighters would be against lowering physical requirements and testing. In the gym that I go to, there are plenty of women that would have no problem passing ANY physical that a man would undertake, and IF they were told they weren’t at that level would make sure they were at that level in the future. The fact of the matter is that most women can’t reach this level of fitness and strength… but that said, neither can many men. I know that despite going to the gym and training a little, I have issues carrying my daughter for long periods of time. So, I really think that if ANYONE male or female is capable of passing these tests and WANTS to be in the job that they should be in the job! What I disagree with is quotas for people in any job – I feel quotas can bring down the requirements and jeopardise the safety of everyone on the team so only those who fit the criteria should be eligible for a place on the squad. What has all of this got to do with me and Jade going to the firestation you ask? Well, like with many of the other jobs we have examined together, I want her to look through the pictures from an early age and think to herself, “I could do that”. (In all honesty I really don’t think I would like her to be a firefighter because it is such a dangerous job… but that’s not my decision!). Watching her interact with the firefighters and playing with the hose in her little firefighter uniform was great to see. From the minute we left she was talking about the trip which she absolutely loved – it was all about “Fireman Mick”, “Fire Truck” and “PHHHHEEesssssshhhh” and acting out the hose spray. I love the fact that even though she’s not even 2-years-old yet and we are able to open her up to so many different careers and even though she doesn’t get the full idea of what the job is… she’s learning the words and forming her own little ideas about the world and I think that is priceless!!

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