Staff story

Sally flies the flag for female firefighters

Sally stood in front of a fire engine in her firefighter kit, which is a neon jacket and matching helmet. She's smiling and holding an A4 piece of paper which has 'thank you' written on it alongside a rainbow with purple, orange, green, blue and red.

"I like to think that I’m flying the flag for women everywhere! Especially as I’m the first female appliance driver and the first female crew manager ever at Sidmouth Fire Station."

I’ve been working here at the Service for 18 years now as a firefighter. This means that I’m one of the people who is sent to help at emergency incidents. Thinking back to when I first applied for the role, I’d say I did it because I wanted a challenge. I’m the type of person who enjoys being tasked with tricky situations, and a job in this area promised that and even more! 

As someone who loves problem solving and variety, I knew the fire service was the place for me. I can be called to such a wide-range of incidents and thrown into some really difficult situations, but that’s what I love about what I do. One day I might be waist-deep in water, another I’ll spend three days fighting a large fire, then the next I’m climbing through a window to save the life of someone who has collapsed. Thinking on my feet and the certainty that no two days are the same keeps me inspired and motivated – even after all this time.

For the last eight years of my career here, I’ve been a crew manager, as well as having my driving role too. I’m so thankful that I’ve been given the opportunity to progress, and a great sense of pride comes with my responsibilities. I like to think that I’m flying the flag for women everywhere! Especially as I’m the first female appliance driver and the first female crew manager ever at Sidmouth Fire Station. It’s such an empowering feeling.

Another great benefit to what I do has been the introduction of Pay For Availability (P4A). This basically means that I get paid by the hours I’m free to work, and those hours are shared out equally amongst the crews. It’s a great way to ensure that I get to do what I signed up for all those years ago – be out on the scene helping to keep our communities safe – in a fair and organised way.

Overall, I’m extremely proud to be a firefighter. No matter how long you’ve been doing it, I’d say it’s a role where you never stop learning. I’ve gained skills I never ever thought I’d master thanks to my position in the Service. Yes, you need to be open to changes, lots of training and difficult situations, but it’s more than worth it. The rewarding feelings of accomplishment and the excitement each day brings are un-paralleled. 

If you're interested in joining us a firefighter, you can find out more about the role and different opportunities we have on our careers pages.