Despite strong recruitement efforts, to this day there’s less than a hundred female firefighters in Metro Vancouver.
Here in Surrey the numbers are just as bleak – with only 12 women suppression firefighters compared to more than 300 men.
To help bring more females onto the force a series of one-day workshops are being held this fall in Surrey (the first one kicking off this weekend) where women of all ages and walks of life are encouraged to attend to learn about a career in firefighting.
Discussions at the workshop will include the various steps of the recruitment process and the physical skills required of a firefighter.
Not only that, participants will get a chance to try on the gear and speak one-on-one with pros to have all their ‘burning’ questions answered (Sorry, had to!) such as what are the sleeping quarters like? What exactly do you wear under your gear? How hard is it balancing work and family life?
Shelley Morris is leading this year’s workshops. She has been a proud firefighter for 23 years, spending 20 years of those on the suppression floor and the last three as Assistant Fire Chief at Firehall #1 in Newton.
Pulse FM’s Vanessa Ybarra spoke to Morris about the perception of firefighting being a “toxic, masculine environment”, the skills that can make women (dare we say!) a better firefighter than men, the Surrey fire department’s strong commitment to a harassment-free, bully-free environment, and more.
Take a listen!
To register for the upcoming workshops happening Sept. 19, Oct. 3, Nov. 14, and Nov. 28 (Level 2, physical testing. Registrants must have participated in a Level 1 workshop) click here!
These workshops are for ages 19+ only.