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Join the mums smashing stereotypes

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lyndsey fire fighter 2The fire and rescue service is no longer a man’s world. Women have been blazing a trail for years and now is the time to join them.

After eight years of non-recruitment, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is finally giving people the chance to realise their dream of becoming a full-time firefighter.

This is also a chance for the fire and rescue service to ditch the myths and do away with pre-conceived ideas of what it means to be a modern firefighter. Or more importantly – what the fire and rescue service can offer the multi-tasking wonder women who are working mums!

In West Yorkshire, women firefighters account for 4.5 per cent of the workforce, yet they make up for around half the population. Before WYFRS’s recruitment freeze back in 2009, the Service was making great strides in attracting women to the profession.

Emily Dew, Diversity, Engagement and Inclusion Manager at WYFRS, said: “We are proud to have more than 50 female operational firefighters here in West Yorkshire. Lots of our female firefighters are mums. It suits them because of the flexible nature of the role; the shift patterns help them balance childcare and other priorities whilst still enjoying a rewarding career.

“Our stations have a really supportive, family atmosphere, so they never feel they are on their own. There’s great opportunity for progression as well – we have female firefighters in senior positions running entire fire stations and whole departments.”

The fire and rescue service not only offers a chance to help people in an emergency, but also work in the community and make a tangible difference to the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable people. More than ever, firefighters must be problem solvers and communicators – traits essential to today’s modern working mums.

The opportunities for specialisation and promotion are endless, with women firefighters across the UK smashing not only stereotypes but the glass ceiling too. London Fire Brigade just appointed its first ever female commissioner with Dany Cotton, who is now the most senior officer in the brigade.

And, just to bust a few myths, women are just as capable as men when it comes to the physical aspects of firefighting. Gone are the days of a firefighter giving someone a ‘fireman’s lift’ out of a burning building, as crews now work in teams to rescue people for their own safety (that counts for men too).

There are no height restrictions and both men and women must carry out the same entry tests and training.

If anyone is in any doubt as to whether a modern working mum is up for the job, take Firefighter Lynsey Donoghue (pictured) as an example. Lynsey, mum of two who is also currently pregnant, has been a firefighter for more than 15 years and currently features in the hit BBC 2 Show ‘Special Forces – Ultimate Hell Week’, which sees men and women pushed to their physical and mental limits by the world’s toughest SAS squads.

Lynsey, from Otley, is blazing a trail for working mums everywhere, not only in the fire and rescue service! She is the epitome of true Yorkshire grit.

lyndsey family“I chose to become a firefighter because I have never agreed with stereotypes. Everyone is capable of doing anything if they have the focus and determination to succeed. Nobody can tell you that you can’t do something. This is the ethos which I’m instilling in my 11-year-old daughter.

“I love my role and my work life is like my second family. The brigade has supported me through my maternity periods. I’m currently having my third baby and the brigade is there for me again. The transition back to work is a little different to some roles as there is a bit of retraining to do but that is to ensure I’m safe and fully competent to carry out my role again. I’ve always returned to work full-time and managed the ‘shift life’ really well.

“I was 19 when I joined and the job has taught be a lot. I’m a strong person and the service has brought the best out in me. On a modest note, it is my job, it is what I trained to do and it is what I enjoy, but I do know that my family and friends, and more so my children, are very proud of what I have achieved.”

WYFRS has teamed up with MMB Magazine  to appeal to the hardworking mums out there to consider a career in the fire and rescue service. Working mums are amazing and we want to tap into their endless skillset, strong and capable qualities and compassion. Throw the desire to be fit and healthy into the mix and the readers of MMB Magazine are our kind of people!

For more information about WYFRS, the career of a firefighter, how to book yourself onto an Awareness Day and how and when to apply, visit

Awareness Days will run throughout West Yorkshire during March and you will have the chance to apply via the website from 1 March to 9 April 2017.

For more information or an informal chat, call Emily on 01274 655815.

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