Challenging more women to be retained firefighters

The fire service is calling for more women to become retained firefighters.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is holding recruitment events specifically targeted at women.

Marion Carlile

Marion Carlile

Currently only four per cent of the services’ retained firefighters are women, which is in line with the national 

Alan Gayter, station comander for Biggleswade, Sandy and Potton, said: “We will be holding coffee mornings specifically aimed at 
female firefighters.

“We want the service to more reflect the community. Half the population is female but not half the firefighters.”

Marion Carlile, of Potton Road in Wrestlingworth, has been a retained firefighter at Potton Fire Station for four years.

She said: “It’s always been portrayed as a male dominated environment.

“I’m quite fit because men are physically stronger and so as a woman I keep myself fitter than I probably need to be.

“I love the job. It’s the diversity of it and not knowing what you’ll be doing. The typical image of 999 calls and rushing out of the door I absolutely love. And I’ve learnt so much. There’s lots of training.”

Typically a firefighter will attend more road accidents, using specialist equipment to cut people out of cars, than standard house fires.

This is probably due to an higher level of fire awareness around the home and more people fitting smoke alarms than in previous years.

Marion, 44, said she does not find the job scary because she is always working as part of a team.

Retained firefighters are paid a fixed retainer rate depending on how many hours they are available and an hourly rate per job. They must live or work within five minutes of the fire station and be in a good state of physical fitness.

The minimum age is 18 and there is no upper age limit and no height limit.

Any woman who would like to find out more about becoming a retained firefighter, with no obligation, can stop by Biggleswade Fire Station between 11am and 3pm on Wednesday, March 19.

There will be identical events between 10am and 1pm on Monday (March 10) in Woburn, Tuesday (March 11) in Shefford and Friday (March 14) in Ampthill.

To see Marion talking about her job visit www.