Just give it a shot

A female firefighter who trains the next generation of life-savers says she wants to inspire other women to follow in her footsteps.

Crew Manager Sarah Bromley was just 19 when she became a firefighter in Humberside Fire and Rescue Service.

Being one of the only females on her training course, and starting on station as one of a small amount of females, was a tough environment.

But it was one Sarah thrived in, spending 14 years working both operationally and in the training section before a hip replacement took her away from operational duties.

She used this time to develop as a temporary Watch Manager in both health and safety and learning and development.

From her first exposure to training, her love of mentoring the next generation of firefighters has become a passion of hers and she has never looked back.

Over her years working in the Fire and Rescue Service she has seen more and more women follow in her footsteps and achieve their dream.

Sarah, a Grimsby native, joined Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) six months ago after re-locating further North.

Now the 36-year-old spends her days teaching the next generation of recruits here in our region to be the best firefighters no matter their background.

It means any women looking to join TWFRS in their upcoming recruitment campaign will have someone who’s already been there and done it.

Sarah said: “Anyone wanting to become a firefighter shouldn’t think they have to fit into any box. If it’s your dream, don’t let anything hold you back.

“There is always a chance to work on weaker areas, you can progress throughout the course and get fitter, study harder, practice more, you’ve just got to prove yourself and have the right attitude, that want, that desire”

“The recruit’s course is the best, you get so many people from so many different backgrounds to take part in this life changing course, and to be a small part of that is incredible.

“That passing out day is amazing, seeing the transformation of the recruits over the course is inspirational and it’s a really heart-warming moment knowing what they’ve been through and what they’ve achieved.”

Sarah has been a fierce competitor all her life, from rowing to CrossFit to body building, there isn’t anything she won’t try.

She is now encouraging prospective recruits to work on themselves throughout the course – and guide them through the tough 14 weeks of training.

And today, TWFRS’s most senior female firefighters echoes this sentiment and encourages more women to become firefighters.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Lynsey McVay said “When I joined, just like Sarah, there wasn’t many female firefighters around the country never mind my own service.

“We spent time paving the way for the next generation to join and have more doors open to them and I’m so proud when get the chance to welcome new female firefighters into TWFRS.

“The career of a firefighter can be challenging at times but it’s also incredibly rewarding, we deal with people at their lowest and get to help them to safety whether that’s physically or emotionally.

“You need compassion and empathy to do this job, you need to be adaptable because you never know what you could be faced with on any shift, but you always know that whatever it throws at you, you’re part of a team and you’ll face it together.”

TWFRS are now recruiting for wholetime firefighters on their website.