Women are better represented in the fire service in Gloucestershire than anywhere else in the country and Fairford definitely confirms this statistic, writes Chris Roberts.
Of the 12 firefighters at Fairford Retained Fire Station, three are female.
Emily Guthrie, 25, Alicia Hing, 28, and Claire Sheridan, 40, are all part-time firefighters at Fairford after having completed interviews, physical tests and training over a few months in Cirencester, Stroud and at the Fire Training Centre, Severn Park, Bristol.
Claire said: “The other firefighters have been very helpful and welcoming.
“I don’t think being a woman is an issue – you focus on the person you are there to help and get on with the job.
“You find an inner strength when it is needed and the adrenalin kicks in.”
Emily also mentioned the adrenaline rush and said she couldn’t get back to sleep after attending her first shout!
Alicia believes that female firefighters bring their own unique skills and expertise to the service and she is discovering more and more that girls are just as important in the team as the boys.
Alicia said she wanted to join the fire service because she wanted to give something back to her local community and wanted to prove to herself that she could face her fear of heights.
The fire service has always been of interest to Emily who was torn between joining the police or the fire service after completing a criminology degree.
She explained: “Joining the on-call service is the perfect opportunity to see whether I want to eventually join on a full-time basis.”
From a young age, Claire had wanted to work in public service and, when she reached her milestone 40th birthday, decided to apply to be an on-call firefighter.
All three ladies are keen on exercise and fitness.
Pre lockdown, Claire went to the gym five times a week, loves adventure sports such as climbing and kayaking, and her ambition is to climb Mount Everest.
Alicia loves lifting weights as well as training in the gym. She loves dancing and also has a border collie that keeps her busy and active.
Emily’s life is ‘equestrian filled’ as she owns two horses and is a self-employed groom at a private yard near Northleach.
Firefighting still remains a male-dominated profession but, in Fairford, these three inspiring ladies form an important part of the team.