A new retained firefighter in Horsham has said she hopes to be a role model for girls and women considering a career in the fire service.
Laura Fitch, 23, achieved a lifelong dream this month when she completed a two week training course and was accepted as a retained firefighter to be based at Horsham Fire Station.
She said: “I would like to be a role model. We are just as good as the guys are.
“I think initially I wanted to become a firefighter since I was about three.
“I have got a picture of me when I was about three in the back of a fire truck.”
Laura, who has left her job at a dry cleaners where she worked for seven years to take up the role, first applied for the fire service when she was 18.
Despite not succeeding at the first attempt, she applied again five years later and passed the written and fitness tests. She said: “I kept going down there ever since speaking to the guys and seeing what they do.
“I love what they do, and every firefighter I have spoken to has never said a bad thing about the job, everyone is so enthusiastic.”
Laura was the only woman to complete the programme and join the fire service.
She said she does not know why there are not more female firefighters.
One of Laura’s first assignments will be to feature in a television advert for the fire service, encouraging others to apply.
Laura is also a martial arts instructor at SKF in Horsham and is a 3rd Dan black belt.
Retained firefighters are paid to be ‘on call’ for the fire service, meaning they are often employed elsewhere or are at home when they receive a pager alert, but are ready to spring into immediate action to deal with a 999 incident.
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