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To encourage more ladies into my profession....

(95 Posts)
Hannah4banana Thu 21-Mar-19 18:04:48

Come on ladies, there must be some mumsnetters bored of the 9 - 5 and looking for a challenge. It's not for everyone but the time off and holidays are fantastic and there's a degree of flexibility. I work 2 x days 2 x nights for 7 weeks then get 18 days off.
I'd love to have some more strong inspiring ladies in my crew.
Here the link
Any questions ask away. I'm 5ft 2 and 9 stone and I can do it. It's more than being a big burly bloke these days smile

Starch Thu 21-Mar-19 18:09:12

Would I be referred to as a ‘lady’?

Balula Thu 21-Mar-19 18:11:22

Do you have to be super fit? It 5ft and far too many stone ... how hard is it to get in?

Hannah4banana Thu 21-Mar-19 18:11:39

You'll prob be referred to as a lot of things on shift but it's all good. Firefighter is the preferred term.

BarbaraofSevillle Thu 21-Mar-19 18:12:46

That would be when I might use the phrase 'I ain't no fucking lady'.

I'd never pass the fitness test, despite being reasonably active. I'm probably too old now anyway.

I do have a none girlie job anyway if it makes you feel better OP.

Hannah4banana Thu 21-Mar-19 18:13:38

Balula there are tests you need to pass but you can train for them. It's all listed on the SFRS website. Usually a berp test, done practical tests and a fitness test at the end. You would have plenty time during the recruitment to be able to pass smile

Ragnarthe Thu 21-Mar-19 18:14:05

I really wondered what profession it would be

ShirleyPhallus Thu 21-Mar-19 18:14:49

This sounds like a pyramid scheme. Does every firefighter you recruit have to recruit another 10?

Hannah4banana Thu 21-Mar-19 18:14:56

Never too old Barbara, all our recent trainees have been more mature with real life experience. Takes a real mix to make a team

stevie69 Thu 21-Mar-19 18:15:03

Not at all unreasonable but ..... this lady would still prefer to be an accountant blush

JazzerMcJazzer Thu 21-Mar-19 18:15:40

My friend’s husband is a firefighter. He’s also a self-employed tree surgeon and runs both jobs at the same time. Is that common? The sense I get from her is that he needs a job on the side to make ends meet. This is in London, he was at Grenfell.

Whatdoyouknowwhenyouknownowt Thu 21-Mar-19 18:16:11

My friend was one of 9 picked from 6000 applications where I live. She is awesome and was the only female recruit in that cohort. Not easy...

Hannah4banana Thu 21-Mar-19 18:18:02

Lol jazzer everyone I know has second jobs but it's not because of the money, it's because we have 4 days of every week and folk with trades tend to do homes and work self employed on their days off. I can't be ar*Ed with that! One job is enough.

WorraLiberty Thu 21-Mar-19 18:18:31

This sounds like a pyramid scheme. Does every firefighter you recruit have to recruit another 10?

That's exactly what I thought grin

"So why do you want to be a firefighter?"

"Dunno, saw it on a chat forum"

Hannah4banana Thu 21-Mar-19 18:19:52

With only 3.5% of the workforce in Scotland female, I'd love to see that change.

SpanishTiles Thu 21-Mar-19 18:22:12

Do you need a driving licence? blush

Hannah4banana Thu 21-Mar-19 18:22:54

No you don't. But it's preferable.

Mmmmbrekkie Thu 21-Mar-19 18:24:14

It holds less than zero appeal

But thank you for doing it

bobstersmum Thu 21-Mar-19 18:25:11

Do I need to be in Scotland!!?

Musicalmistress Thu 21-Mar-19 18:25:21

I take my hat off to you & agree there should def be more female firefighters but I couldn’t do it - give me a room full of pre schoolers any day!

Hannah4banana Thu 21-Mar-19 18:25:37

Totally understand mmmmbrekkie, it's not for everyone. I'm just hoping to show people that might be interested but not confident enough that they can apply smile

tulippa Thu 21-Mar-19 18:25:49

I've heard you need perfect eyesight to be a firefighter. That rules me out if it's true.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Thu 21-Mar-19 18:26:55

@JazzerMcJazzer - need a 2nd job? no but they're all at it, cash in hand on their days off.

FuzzyPuffling Thu 21-Mar-19 18:26:58

No thanks. The heat from the fires would set my hot flushes off something rotten.

Hannah4banana Thu 21-Mar-19 18:26:59

Omg musicalmistress I speak to my teacher friends and thats one thing I couldn't do lol. Give me a burning building any day. Respect yo you! No you don't have to be in Scotland to apply but you will need to work there.

DanielRicciardosSmile Thu 21-Mar-19 18:27:33

The commute would be a bit far for me (even aside from the fact I'm old, fat and short sighted!)

Hannah4banana Thu 21-Mar-19 18:27:52

Tulippa you can actually apply if you wear glasses now. We have special lenses that fit into ba masks made for your prescription.

BarbaraofSevillle Thu 21-Mar-19 18:28:29

I think you might to work for the Scottish Fire Service bobster or else the commute might be a bit of a killer. But your local fire service might also be looking for 'ladies' too.

But as I'm not in a rush to take a near 50% pay cut to do a really really hard job, that I maintain I would not pass the fitness test for, I'll pass.

I would have thought that £22k would go a lot further in many areas of Scotland than it would in London, even with the London weighting.

Hannah4banana Thu 21-Mar-19 18:30:04

Totally agree Barbara, I took a 10k cut for this job but I absolutely love it. The top line is now 30.5k after training which is a bit better.

CheshireChat Thu 21-Mar-19 18:42:05

So what do you do on a normal day?

Beyond recruiting MNs that is wink

KnitterOfSocks Thu 21-Mar-19 18:44:30

I would really love this. But there are no whole time positions available where I live only retained. Plus I'm 41 so surely a bit old? I can run a marathon and am physically strong though, 5'8" and a size 12.

I could easily freelance in my current role on the days off as well...

GrandTheftWalrus Thu 21-Mar-19 18:59:42

I work in a job that seems to be male orientated but there are a lot more women in it since I started 6 years ago.

In fact my exfil asked if there was many women that worked there when I started

Constantsarechanging Thu 21-Mar-19 19:03:47

I have always thought this would be a great career, but worry about the fitness/strength aspect.. in Scotland too - so will have a look again..

Hannah4banana Thu 21-Mar-19 19:04:42

Hi cheshirecat hope this helps! Here's a run down of my day yesterday.

8am roll call - get assigned a role in the fire engine and carry out checks on the ba sets and equipment.

Wee cuppa afterwards.

9am daily station work routine. clean the fire engine, replace any equipment that's missing or damaged and check the specialist equipment at our station.

10am breakfast

1030 drilling. Anything from a BA scenario with search and rescue for a casual to pitching ladders or a chemical incident. Our training schedule is assigned monthly and we do lots of diverse things.

1pm lunch

2pm nursery visit. My fav, we basically give very basic fire safety advice then play with the kids for an hour with the hose and water. It's about making sure they aren't afraid and know that to do if the smoke detector goes off.

230 - home fire safety visit. There was evidence of scorch marks on her carpet and sofa so we fitted smoke detectors and referred to social work for fire retardant bedding. This part always gets to me, you are invited into people's homes and some times you are the only person they see all day. It breaks my heart sometimes.

3pm cooksafe demo. This is a new initiative covering homeless hostels and universities. It's to try and reduce the number of fires in contained accommodation. We go out and do a chip pan demo and give advice on what to do.

4pm gym time. We are encouraged to stay fit and have a really good gym and time to use it in the day.

In between all this stuff we had 8 turnouts, 2 were fires, 1 was an rtc, 1 was to open a door for the ambulance and 4 were false alarms. Thankfully.

Between 5 and 6 we input all the paperwork and record our training before the nightshift comes on.
I am at a fairly busy station but that's a brief rundown onf a day.
Hope that helps!

Hannah4banana Thu 21-Mar-19 19:12:44

Knitter of socks that is not too old! There's no upper age restriction. I had a female firefighter in my course that was 45 and she was a machine!

LookAtThatCritter Thu 21-Mar-19 19:41:11

I’m in the US but this is what I’m applying for after my army reserve training smile

Loopytiles Thu 21-Mar-19 19:44:22

A colleague is married to a woman who is a firefighter: her employer wasn’t willing to give her relatively stable shifts making it very difficult for the couple to find affordable paid childcare. They could only both continue to work with family help.

Lovestonap Thu 21-Mar-19 19:51:04

Well I clicked on this expecting to be all huffy and annoyed about being called a 'lady', but that was really interesting reading, thank you OP

BarbaraofSevillle Thu 21-Mar-19 19:53:13


That was the problem Jack Monroe had as a single parent. She couldn't make it work so ended up unemployed and on benefits.

I know a couple where he is a fire fighter and she is a police officer. They have 2 primary age DCs so fuck knows how they make it work with shifts and childcare.

WeldMeDaphne Thu 21-Mar-19 19:54:59

A berp test? I might be able to pass that one 😂😂
Seriously though, thanks for the work you do OP.

JazzerMcJazzer Thu 21-Mar-19 20:38:37

PlainSpeaking StraightTalking
* need a 2nd job? no but they're all at it, cash in hand on their days off.*

You make it sound like they are doing something dodgy/you don’t agree with them doing it. Surely it’s up to them? I know that the fire brigade condone it because my mate’s husband stores his tree surgeon equipment in fire brigade premises.

Fr3d Thu 21-Mar-19 21:01:27

Fair play to you OP and to all firefighters. I would love the community side of it but being called out to RTC's and fires...So hard. Respect.

Hannah4banana Thu 21-Mar-19 21:31:22

If it helps one person who is swithering to make a decision to apply then I'll be happy. Thanks for all your comments, I wasn't sure about posting in aibu but I know it gets a lot of traffic. I think I've been let off relatively gently so far grin

MissGuernsey Thu 21-Mar-19 22:06:54

Hiya OP

Thank you for your post.

I am 48 and very fit. I have tried and failed to get into London Fire Service for the last two years. I prepared well for the numerical and reasoning tests (worked through examples on various Fire Service websites - Tyne and Wear, Sussex etc). I also borrowed books from the library on these tests and worked through examples. The mechanical reasoning test was hard and I failed. I have since worked through a mechanical reasoning examples book and a GCSE Physics book.

I was invited to take further tests and turned up at Hammersmith Fire Station. Out of thirty people there was only one other lady besides me.

I went to an Open Day at Paddington Fire Station and took the physical tests. I passed several of them on my first attempt. I was the oldest person there.

I wanted to join the service when I left school in the eighties. I tried my local force (in the north) and was laughed out of the fire station and told to go down to the local tech and become a secretary, which I did.

I have taken a qualification with the Institute of Fire Engineers which I passed. I studied independently with no help. I took the exam at London Fire Brigade HQ near London Bridge.

I passed the personality and situational behaviour tests on both occasions.

Do you have any advice for me love? I think I am too old. I hope they have a recruitment campaign this year. I am thinking of relocating but all my friends (and athletics club) is down here.

Thanking you in advance for a reply!

MissGuernsey Thu 21-Mar-19 22:08:59

Forgot to add I am single with no kids. Used to shift work too. Full driving licence with no points.

Thank you!

Hannah4banana Thu 21-Mar-19 22:19:09

Hi miss Guernsey, that's really tough! Where are you falling down? At what part of the recruitment? You are never too old. Definitely apply again. If I can help get you through the sections you are failing at please let me know. You sound exactly like the right person for this job!

MissGuernsey Thu 21-Mar-19 22:19:56

Forgot to add I passed the maths and verbal reasoning tests on both occasions!

magimedi Thu 21-Mar-19 22:24:08

YABVU to ask for 'ladies'.

I am a woman.

MissGuernsey Thu 21-Mar-19 22:26:08


Thank you for your reply.

It was the mechanical reasoning test that I failed.

The physical tests I passed were the one where you had to put together a pump within a time frame and the one which tests your ability in a claustophobic situation. I failed the one where you had to drag a dummy around a course (one second out). I passed the ladder climb.

Hope this helps!

Okaythen2 Thu 21-Mar-19 22:32:32

What’s wrong with being called a lady?

ssd Thu 21-Mar-19 22:39:45

Well I'm too old, too fat and too feart, but thanks for doing this op!

MissGuernsey Thu 21-Mar-19 22:53:52


We were called ladies at the Open Day for London Fire Brigade. We were referred to as ladies at the National Firefighter Cross Country Running Championships which I competed in as a guest. What is wrong with ladies?

I am sure this will cross your mind if you are ever dragged from a burning building!

The OP is offering great advice here.

BellaVista1540 Thu 21-Mar-19 22:55:11

You made it sound like an MLM. Do I have to buy lots of fire and water then try to sell them to my friends through pressure selling while being told “hun, keep going, you’re doing good”?

MissGuernsey Thu 21-Mar-19 23:03:48


The OP did make it seem like a multi-level marketing scheme. Maybe it was deliberate. Well I for one am glad I opened the thread!

LeSquigh Fri 22-Mar-19 07:28:19


Jack Monroe was not a firefighter, she was a Fire Control Operator. And there were more issues relating to her employment and departure than were revealed.

LeSquigh Fri 22-Mar-19 07:30:07

Whilst not wanting to take over answering for the OP, there are lots of you worried that you are too old to do this job - there is NO age limit and actually we are not allowed to even ask for your age when you apply.

TooStressyTooMessy Fri 22-Mar-19 07:35:24

I was surprised to see your post OP. Not in a bad way, I think it’s great you want to encourage more people into the profession. It’s just that here (somewhere midlands / central England ish) male or female, it is almost impossible to get into the fire service. I know a few people who have applied multiple times. People are basically told not to apply and vacancies are few and far between. It seems similar to the London situation.

Retained maybe yes, they have vacancies but that is mainly because the shift patterns are brutal and completely incompatible with family life, unless you have someone else who can pick up the slack. I feel so sorry for anyone around here who wants to be a firefighter as realistically the chances are close to zero unless you are prepared to be retained and commit to being on-call almost all of your free time (I am not exaggerating- people have to say when they will not be free to be on-call and then are quizzed as to why).

Is there a big shortage up in Scotland then?

stopfuckingshoutingatme Fri 22-Mar-19 07:37:32

Good for you !

Genuine questions

Do you get back pain and aches ?
How do you handle the heavy work ?

It’s not for me as 45 now and desk bound

But sounds like an interesting role 😬

QueenOfTheTofuTree Fri 22-Mar-19 07:38:24

Hmm, I wouldn't fancy being a firefighter but I am tempted to become a pcso.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Fri 22-Mar-19 07:39:16

Typical MN

OP raises a genuinely interesting topic
OP picked in for usually an unpopular term

Sheesh . So many pedants

ThursdayLastWeek Fri 22-Mar-19 07:42:50

I just knew that OP was written by a man.

Hmm, I wonder why there are so few 'ladies' hmm

RuggyPeg Fri 22-Mar-19 07:49:02

Stopfucking - there's an element of irony in your post. It pisses you off that people are being 'pedantic' (in your opinion) pisses other people off being referred to as a lady. It's not your place to police what pisses people off. It's an important and admirable occupation for sure but the twee, patronising tone of this one-woman recruitment drive grates quite frankly.

RuggyPeg Fri 22-Mar-19 07:50:03

Or more likely actually, one-man recruitment drive.

killpop Fri 22-Mar-19 08:06:18

Why do you think the OP is a man?

killpop Fri 22-Mar-19 08:08:47

OP my exSIL was a volunteer fire fighter (as have several men in my family been over the years) I was in awe of her, and the work she did. She stopped when she was pregnant and never went back to it after becoming a parent.
I couldn't do it. Health aside, I feel the risk is too high, as a parent. The only people I'd run into a burning building for now is my DC.

Good on you though, thank you.

KateMadikane Fri 22-Mar-19 08:20:34

Thanks for posting this OP . Have you thought of doing an AMA?

ThursdayLastWeek Fri 22-Mar-19 08:21:08

The patronising tone and the fact I didn’t read down to the bottom of their post.

Barbie222 Fri 22-Mar-19 08:25:51

Who has childcare for night shifts? I don't think that would work for me. Granny Murray's the only childminder I've seen who takes children overnight!!!

TooStressyTooMessy Fri 22-Mar-19 09:07:54

Ah yes, Granny Murray grin. The shift worker’s dream childcare.

Hannah4banana Fri 22-Mar-19 09:10:28

Interesting that people think I am a man. I most definitely am not last chance I looked.
The shifts are definitely a hurdle. I actually used to work in the control room before I became a firefighter. A lot of women there were actually married to firefighters. With the shifts they managed to split the childcare complety equally, the only downside was that they didn't have much time together which was a shame.

We have had so many retirements that we have been actively recruiting for the last 2 years to fill the vacancies. I actually got in on my 3rd attempt so applying more than once is common as competition is fierce.

I'm sorry some people are offended by the word lady, I do t know what's pc anymore esp on mn. I've been called a lot worse at 2am by members of the public so this job probably isn't for you.

Children are the best though, they don't know what to call you.

Firemanwomanthingymagummy smile

Best one I heard was firefightress! I'm keeping that one grin

I'm the only female at a station of over 60 so it does have challenges. I just wanted to show some of the positive aspects of the job and that a lot of the work we do now is community based.

Cheers for all the comments, I'm interested to see what everyone thinks.

Alienspaceship Fri 22-Mar-19 09:14:58

Great idea for a thread, thanks Op smile

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Fri 22-Mar-19 11:01:25

Hi OP. Do you get a Class 2 HGV license with the training, or is that a further stage? I worked with a firefighter who did agency work on his days off, as he'd got the license and he was tacho and wtd exempt while on watch.

Vulpine Fri 22-Mar-19 11:40:11

I am a lady so take no offense what so ever. You can also call me girl.

Hannah4banana Fri 22-Mar-19 11:43:42

Hi DisgraceToTheYChromosome, I'm actually just about to start my Hgv training very soon. They prefer you to get a good all round grounding as a firefighter before you start driving. I'm nervous but looking forward to trying something new! I'm worried about driving under blue light conditions as members of the public seem to panic when they hear sirens and do the strangest things. I'll have responsibility for myself, my crew and everyone else on the road!
Another string to my bow as they say smile

thecatsthecats Fri 22-Mar-19 12:03:36

What do you have to get on the beep test?

(Purely for my own humbling or bragging depending on your answer...)

Hannah4banana Fri 22-Mar-19 12:23:24

It used to be 9.6 but it's now 8.8
When people apply they actually underestimate the beep test because they are fit and already run but there's definitely a technique to it. I downloaded a copy and practised in the aerobics hall at my gym when there's were no classes on. Same for the equipment carry which is the toughest part of selection.
On the practical day it's the beep test first then all the other strength tests with the equipment relay saved till the end, it's designed to push you to your limits so it's a tiring day!
I was absolutely spent at the end, I couldn't have given any more smile

Hazeintheclouds Fri 22-Mar-19 12:52:13


MissGuernsey Fri 22-Mar-19 12:54:27

Yup OP we were told that the equipment test was last. I was 8 seconds out on my first (practice) atrempt!. The reaasembly of equipment test seemed easy enough but I only passed with about four seconds to spare.

ArtisanPopcorn Fri 22-Mar-19 13:03:48

£22k for 42 hours?! I get that for my 35 hour a week admin assistant job!

Hannah4banana Fri 22-Mar-19 13:04:51

That's the trainee salary. It increases to 30.5 after 32 months. But it is shocking for the job we do!

brizzlemint Fri 22-Mar-19 13:06:56

I really wouldn't want to be called a lady 99% of the time but if you are dragging me out of a burning building then you go right ahead and call me whatever the fuck you like.

Hannah4banana Fri 22-Mar-19 13:07:57

Brizzlemint grin yeah people don't seem to care too much then.

GOODCAT Fri 22-Mar-19 13:11:53

Is there an age limit on joining?

Namechangeforthiscancershit Fri 22-Mar-19 13:16:58

I took my Rainbows for a fire station visit recently and they loved it. Sadly there weren't any female firefighters on that day, but the firefighters who showed us around were very encouraging and engaging.

Hannah4banana Fri 22-Mar-19 13:29:09

No upper age limit smile

iwantatattoo Fri 22-Mar-19 13:30:59

I'm in my 50's - can I join?

Hannah4banana Fri 22-Mar-19 13:34:40

I had a 50 year old trainee on my course. If you can pass all the tests then yes of course you can join!

JazzerMcJazzer Fri 22-Mar-19 14:39:16

All those offended by “lady”, do you also get offended when the compere of a show says “Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, please put your hands together for....”

Or when you go to the Ladies’ toilet?

thecatsthecats Fri 22-Mar-19 14:41:24

Cool, I'm on 10.5. Bragging rights maintained!

RuggyPeg Fri 22-Mar-19 18:44:03

Totally different Jazzer. It's the tone and context. It's a bit NetMums/Hun/patronising. Unless you're titled and really are a Lady, in which case.....

Degustibusnonestdisputandem1 Fri 22-Mar-19 20:28:45

Hmm. I'll be volunteering for the CFA when I move back home to Oz in October. I've already had some training and fought more than a few fires.

Surroundedbycats Fri 22-Mar-19 20:45:29

What are the eyesight requirements?

MaggieAndHopey Fri 22-Mar-19 20:50:05

Hi OP, I'm in Scotland and thinking of applying at 41 years of age. Have you got any tips for the fitness day? I do strength training 4 x a week at the gym and I do a treadmill run of 10km once a week, as well as cycling to work every day (10 mile round trip). So I'm in decent shape but not complacent - the bleep test looks tough!

Hannah4banana Fri 22-Mar-19 21:53:20

Hi maggieandhopey that's great! The only tips I can give is train for the scenarios. They are all listed on the website. I imitated the equipment carry in the gym and practised so many times.
All the weights are listed for each section so you can set up a relay.
Best of luck! If I can help with anything else please let me know smile

MaggieAndHopey Sat 23-Mar-19 05:35:02

Thank you. I will try to train as specifically as possible if I get to that stage. I'm excited - until yesterday I actually had no idea there was no upper age limit to be a fire fighter. I've often toyed with the idea but assumed I was past it.

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