Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
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WOMEN across the fire service in Greater Manchester are being celebrated this International Women's day.
From firefighters to health and wellbeing workers, apprentice communicators to fire prevention leaders, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) is marking today's international event to showcase the women that contribute in some way to saving lives in Greater Manchester.
Cllr David Acton, Chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “It is right to celebrate the women in our Service who play an integral role in protecting the communities of Greater Manchester. Our operational staff do a fantastic job and are breaking down barriers to quash stereotypes and drive our workforce forward in becoming truly representative of the communities we serve.”
Just 3 per cent of the firefighters in Greater Manchester are women - a statistic the Service is determined to improve.
Rochdale-based firefighter Michelle Armitage made a career change from marketing to firefighting last year.
She said: “I never thought about becoming a firefighter. I used to work behind a desk, so it is a bit of a change. Like any job, if you put the effort in and work hard, you can do it – woman or not!
“The training course was intense, but even as the mother of a three-year-old, it was manageable. If you want to do it, do it. If I can do it, anyone can!”
Taster sessions are being run across the county to give people an insight into the skills, physical fitness and attributes needed to deliver the work of a modern fire and rescue service.
Hollins firefighter Jenna Cahill, helped put participants through their paces at a taster session in Manchester on Friday (March 3).
She explained: “When I went through training no-one treated me any differently. Everyone is a colleague, everyone is a firefighter. You do the same work and lift the same weights.
“Anyone who is interested should come and give it a go, it’s simply the best job in the world.
“Working for GMFRS is like a family. You are working with your best friends.”
There are also an array of other careers at GMFRS that see a range of people from different backgrounds and genders delivering vital roles including volunteers, apprenticeships, and managers.
Peter O’Reilly, County Fire Officer, concluded: “We are rightly one of the country’s leading fire services and we are striving to make our Service reflective of the communities we serve.
“Anyone, man or woman, from any background, who has the drive and commitment to become a firefighter, can become a firefighter. The role of a firefighter has changed in recent years and we feel passionately that we need to do all we can to make our workforce one that truly is the best to serve the needs of Greater Manchester."
Anyone interested about a career at GMFRS can log on to www.manchesterfire.gov.uk.