Once dominated by males, 24 per cent of the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) is made up of women firefighters and Fire Chief, Gregory Wickham has encouraged more women to join the field.
“We are creating that opportunity for our females, for our women to feel comfortable that they can work and perform as equally as our males have done over the years.
“Every batch of recruitment that we train would have females because they are important and they play a critical role,” the Fire Chief said on Wednesday during a drill exercise D’Urban Park to mark International Women’s Day.
He said that the current batch of 78 recruitments includes 14 women.
The drill was completed by a team of women from the Guyana Fire Service and the Emergency Medical Technician Service.
Dianne Gill, a sub-officer attached at the GFS explained that the drill exercise proved that women are needed in the field and they can operate just as men do.
“You have to come in with a mindset knowing that it is a male-dominated environment and the challenges are there.
“Firefighter is a noble profession, taking into consideration that it’s mostly males and some of the equipment the women cannot handle but once you come in knowing that it’s a male-dominated environment, you just have to work hand in hand with them and try as much as possible to learn,” Gill said.
She hopes to see more women joining the profession and for those within, she urges them to continue learning and don’t compete with their male counterparts but rather learn from them. Gill explained that the equipment for firefighting is heavy and for this reason, team work is necessary.
Meanwhile, Johanna Hughes, an Emergency Medical Technician attached at the Central Fire Station, said women are important for this role because they provide much-needed empathy during times of distress.
“We can relate to a lot of people and I want to say women have more empathy and that extra touch that is needed,” Hughes said. She also shared that in her six years in the profession, she has had happy and challenging moments.
She said witnessing a woman’s elation after giving birth to her first child was the best memory while her worst is when another woman’s mother died. Hughes and her team had to inform the woman of the devastating news during the wee hours of Mother’s Day morning.