Women fired up for CFA

Women wanted: Bayswater CFA captain Diana Ferguson, front, and brigade members Geoff Steward, Lyndee Stride, Kim Phillips and Dave Tangey want to encourage more women to become firefighters. Picture: Wayne HawkinsWHAT DO YOU THINK? SCROLL TO BELOW THIS STORY TO POST A COMMENT.
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FOR many people, the prospect of balancing three children, a husband, volunteer firefighting and a day job at the SES would be more than enough to do every day.

But when Diana Ferguson was offered the opportunity to be the first female urban captain at Bayswater CFA, it was an opportunity that proved impossible to knock back. “It was exciting to pave the way for other women and set a good example,” she said.

Women now represent more than 20 per cent of total CFA volunteer numbers, and they’re pushing for more women to join the ranks. Since March last year, 688 women have joined the CFA as firefighters and in support roles.

CFA chief officer Euan Ferguson said “it’s great to see a boost in female numbers within CFA”.

Mrs Ferguson began her firefighting career as part of a community service component to get into the police force, but decided she much preferred the “firey” life.

“It was a great opportunity to meet a whole range of people from different backgrounds. I’ve done so much training and I’ve continued to build on those skills in life.”

The mother of three said there was nothing the men could do that she couldn’t.

“I go to the gym and work out there, and the three kids certainly keep me fit. But we’re all from diverse backgrounds, male or female, different cultures. Everyone is treated equally as firefighters.”

She said the Bayswater brigade typically responded to about 500 calls a year, and even after all these years it was still an exciting and rewarding experience to fight fires.

And she wouldn’t hesitate in recommending the CFA to other women.