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GMFRS celebrates International Women’s Day with firefighter fitness event

GREATER Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) celebrated International Women’s Day when women from across the county took part in firefighter fitness sessions. 

The national event takes place every year on March 8 and sees people across the world celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. 

To mark the occasion, GMFRS held an event at its Training and Development Centre on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 where women who work or volunteer for the Service and those who have expressed an interest in joining GMFRS took part in firefighter taster sessions. 

The sessions gave an insight into the firefighter role and included lots of physical activity such as hose runs, ladder carry and climb, breathing apparatus crawl and shuttle run. 


The aim of the event was to encourage more women in Greater Manchester to consider a career with GMFRS, either as a firefighter or in one of many other roles. 

One young woman who took part in a taster session is Sophie Fletcher, who is currently a volunteer with the Service. 

Sophie said: “I really enjoyed the taster session, although I was a bit scared while doing the ladder climb.  During this exercise I found it easier to look forward and not down at my feet.  

“Overall the session was what I was expecting and thanks to GMFRS I now realise how fit I need to be for when I apply for a firefighter role.” 


On the day training instructors running the course were joined by four female firefighters – Micky Bland, Carole Jaszewski, Kate Lonsdale and Emma Halsall, who has recently stepped up to become a crew manager. 

Talking about the role of a firefighter, Crew Manager Emma Halsall shares with us how she keeps fit to enable her to carry out her role to full potential. 

Crew Manager Halsall said: “I train during allocated times through the day and also spend time outside of work training to keep up my strength and stamina – I find that running, swimming and cycling work for me. 

“To those women thinking about a career with GMFRS as a firefighter I would say keep as fit as you can by doing a range of activities, and just get stuck in and do your best – anything is possible.” 

Firefighter Micky Bland and Crew Manager Emma Halsall

Chair of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor David Acton, said: “As part of GMFRS’ commitment to reflect the diversity of the communities we serve, we are actively encouraging women and people from minority backgrounds to consider joining our amazing Service.

“We recently recruited four female firefighters via an internal pathway, which is a really positive step, but we know there’s more to be done in order to truly reflect the communities of Greater Manchester.

“It’s likely that there will be opportunities in the future for further recruitment and this will once again be done via our internal pathway, which provides opportunities for people to join GMFRS. This includes Community Fire Cadets, Prince’s Trust, apprenticeship programmes, traineeships and various volunteering opportunities.  

“Those that offer their time to the people of Greater Manchester through our schemes will put themselves in a better position to apply. So if you are interested in joining the fire service then please get in touch. Get fit, get involved and we will welcome you with open arms.” 

GMFRS has an active volunteering network covering various areas and interests, including our new Community Fitness Volunteers which we are now recruiting for. To find out more visit:

Those interested in roles at GMFRS and upcoming events where they can learn more about the opportunities available, are asked to register their details here:

You will find details of upcoming events, where you will find out more about getting involved with GMFRS and opportunities on offer, below: 

Manchester Girls Can - Wyth Women
Friday, March 11 (11am to 5pm)
Wythenshawe Forum. Poundswick Lane, off Simonsway, M22 5RX

Pure Gym, Rochdale
Tuesday, March 15 (4pm to 8pm)
Sandbrook Park, Rochdale OL11 1RY

Take a look at GMFRS’ video - – which gives an insight into the Service and the variety of activity its staff members and volunteers are involved with.

Last update: 23/03/2016 08:19:21
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