Spark up a great career says Vicky

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A female Portstewart firefighter has encouraged other women in the borough to sign up for the Northern Ireland Fireand Rescue Service (NIFRS).

Vicky Todd, from Portrush Road, says she just loves her job and says more women should consider firefighting as a career.

Vicky is one of just four female fighters in the Triangle area and says she always liked the idea of joining the fire service.

“I always wanted to do it, so five years ago I decided to give it a go.

“So I passed all the stages of training and joined Portstewart Fire Station.”

Vicky , who is also completing a postgraduate course in Forensic Science at UUC, added: “I’m lucky I’ve got two great jobs.

“You do have to put a lot of training in to be a firefighter. You have to be physically fit and be able to do the same job as the men.

“It’s a brilliant job and there are lots of other opportunties. For example they put me through my LGV driving and paid for it, which means I can drive the fire engine.

“They really look after you and I would recommend it to anyone.”

The number of female firefighters has been steadily increasing over the years in Northern Ireland and NIFRS now has 46 female firefighters, 25 of whom are full time.

Chris Kerr, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said: “We have a specific message for females across Northern Ireland in this recruitment drive - being a firefighter is a remarkable, challenging and rewarding career and it is an equally viable long term career option for both women and men.

“With career long training and development, excellent promotion opportunities, a very competitive salary and benefit scheme, becoming a firefighter is something we want to encourage more women to consider. This is not just a job for men.”

He explained: “Today we provide a much broader fire and rescue service to the people of Northern Ireland and respond to much more than fires. We respond to road traffic collisions and other types of specialist rescue incidents such as chemical spillages, rope rescue incidents, collapsed buildings etc.

All candidates who apply and who meet the minimum educational qualification of GCSE Maths and English (A-C Grade) will be invited to attend a multi-stage fitness test.

Successful candidates from the fitness test will go forward for shortlisting based on their application form and if shortlisted will be invited to a practical test. If successful in that stage candidiates will then progress to the interview stage.

It is anticipated that the first course of Trainee Firefighters will be appointed and will commence their 18 week training course at the Fire & Rescue Training Centre early in 2012.

To download an application packs go to the NIFRS website www.nifrs.org.

The closing date for applications is Thursday, August 11 at 3pm.