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Get on board

Thursday, 8th March, 2018

Firefighters Karen Scifleet, Megan Pratt, Jessica Ray and Kristy Ramsay at the Broken Hill Fire Station. “There’s quite a lot of female firefighters in Broken Hill, particularly at the South Station, and we’d love more.” Firefighters Karen Scifleet, Megan Pratt, Jessica Ray and Kristy Ramsay at the Broken Hill Fire Station. “There’s quite a lot of female firefighters in Broken Hill, particularly at the South Station, and we’d love more.”

By Myles Burt

Female firefighters and paramedics in the Broken Hill say International Women’s Day highlights their work and the increasing number of women looking to join their ranks.

NSW Fire Brigade’s Karen Scifleet said she became a firefighter to help the community.

She said there was a great representation of women within the brigade, and encouraged others to look into joining.

“There’s quite a lot of female firefighters in Broken Hill, especially at South Station, and we’d love more,” she said.

“If anyone’s interested in joining, feel free to put your name down and come on board.”

Ms Scifleet said that while there had been greater promotion of opportunities for women to join the Fire Brigade, women had always been welcome to join locally.

“It’s just that women haven’t applied in the past. There’s more advertising now to encourage women to join, so it’s equal opportunity,” she said.

Ms Scifleet said as a female firefighter she feels very comfortable around the workplace, as everyone treats each other well and all firefighters have to go through the same training regardless of being a retained or permanent firefighter.

Local Jessica Ray has been a retained firefighter for almost three years. She said she joined up after a few people recommended it to her.

“I put it in the back of my mind and then one day thought, ‘I could do that, that is my type of thing’.

“You’re just like everybody else. It’s a good community to also start out in. Broken Hill’s pretty good that way.”

Broken Hill Paramedic Ann Pettiford, who came here eight years ago, has seen a large push for more women recruits in the ambulance service.

The BH Ambulance Station has 20 paramedics.

“It’s getting closer and closer to 50/50, especially on this station,” she said.

“For a profession that was once very male dominated, it certainly now sends a good career path for women.”

Ms Pettiford chose to become a paramedic, seeing it as an opportunity to help the community with a professional organisation. Since then she has worked in Sydney and in the country.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I was young.

“I studied hard to get the qualifications to do it and so basically I’m living my dream.”

Ms Pettiford said the ambulance service was a great environment to work in and a very supportive workplace for female paramedics.

She strongly encourages local women to look into the profession, which holds great life experiences.

“It’s a very rewarding job.”

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