Out of the Ashes : Stories from Lancashire

Episode 5: International Women's Day 2024

March 08, 2024 Season 1 Episode 5
Episode 5: International Women's Day 2024
Out of the Ashes : Stories from Lancashire
More Info
Out of the Ashes : Stories from Lancashire
Episode 5: International Women's Day 2024
Mar 08, 2024 Season 1 Episode 5

In Episode 5, we are celebrating International Women's Day (Friday 8th March), this is a global day celebrating the achievements of women. In the episode we speak to Group Manager Caroline Harrison and Watch Manager Sarah Holden and discuss this year’s theme which is inspiring inclusion. 

The episode explores their experiences of being a female firefighter and motherhood, the fitness levels and recruits course required and how you could prepare and what International Women's Day means to them.

And, who knows, we may see more and more women realising what they are capable of and encourage them to apply for a role they didn’t previously think they could do.

And remember if you liked our episode, please like and subscribe and let’s make Lancashire safer together.

Show Notes Transcript

In Episode 5, we are celebrating International Women's Day (Friday 8th March), this is a global day celebrating the achievements of women. In the episode we speak to Group Manager Caroline Harrison and Watch Manager Sarah Holden and discuss this year’s theme which is inspiring inclusion. 

The episode explores their experiences of being a female firefighter and motherhood, the fitness levels and recruits course required and how you could prepare and what International Women's Day means to them.

And, who knows, we may see more and more women realising what they are capable of and encourage them to apply for a role they didn’t previously think they could do.

And remember if you liked our episode, please like and subscribe and let’s make Lancashire safer together.


[00:00:02.170] - Host (Lucinda)
Welcome to Lancashire Fire and Rescue Services podcast series, Out of the Ashes: Stories from Lancashire. Today marks International Women's Day. This is a global day celebrating the achievements of women and our episode is focusing on this year's theme, which is inspiring inclusion. Making women's achievement more visible, helps to build equality and inspires others to consider career paths they may not previously thought were an option for them. And who knows, we may see more and more women realising what they are capable of and encourage them to apply for a role that they didn't previously think they could do.

 

[00:00:36.670] - Host (Lucinda)
In today's episode, I will be speaking to Group Manager Caroline Harrison and Watch Manager Sarah Holden as they share their experiences of being a female firefighter. So thank you for both joining me today. Do you firstly want to introduce yourselves to the listeners?

 

[00:00:53.260] - Caroline Harrison
I'm Caroline Harrison. I'm Group Manager and I am the CPM for Pennine area.

 

[00:00:59.730] - Sarah Holden
My name is Sarah Holden. I am acting Watch Manager for Preesaall, which is an on-call unit. And I am acting Watch Manager for Fleetwood.

 

[00:01:09.910] - Host (Lucinda)
So how long have you both been in the service? How long have you both been firefighters?

 

[00:01:14.750] - Caroline Harrison
I've been in 23 years.

 

[00:01:16.870] - Sarah Holden
A little bit shorter for me. I've only been in seven years.

 

[00:01:19.760] - Host (Lucinda)
And so what was your inspiration for joining to be a firefighter?

 

[00:01:26.020] - Sarah Holden
For me, it was always something I've wanted to do. I was a farmer prior to joining the fire service and it was just something where I'd want to listen to stories who of kind of paramedics, police officers, firefighters. And then the opportunity arrived and my local station was recruiting and I decided I couldn't miss on it, so, couldn't miss this. So I applied seven or eight years ago to be an on call firefighter and absolutely loved it and immediately applied to be whole time after that.

 

[00:01:55.160] - Host (Lucinda)
Wow. So did any of the skills from you being a farmer help you in the application?

 
[00:02:00.150] - Sarah Holden
Yeah, definitely the functional strength, because farmers are kind of lifting heavy things, working outdoors all day, kind of problem solving, fixing things. So just the nature of the job definitely transferred. Definitely the strength helped me.

 

[00:02:16.810] - Host (Lucinda)
And, Caroline, how about yourself?

 

[00:02:18.340] - Caroline Harrison
I'm the exact opposite to Sarah. So I came from an office background.

 
[00:02:23.880] - Host (Lucinda)
Really?

 
[00:02:24.450] - Caroline Harrison
Yeah. I was a legal executive before I joined the fire service and I had no aspirations to be a firefighter. As far as I was concerned, firefighters were leaping tall buildings faster than a speeding train, superheroes. And it was not on my radar at all. I went into office work straight from school, finished my last exam, went into an office based job and worked my way through that. I did a little bit of travelling. And my brother, he was already in the fire service, and after I came back from a trip, I sort of suggested to him that I was a little bit lost and I didn't know where I wanted to go. And he was the one who suggested going in the fire service and I said, no, it's not a job for me. I can't imagine me being a firefighter. And like Sarah said, she had a lot of transferable skills. I didn't see myself as a firefighter, but he told me a lot about the job and all of a sudden I thought, you know what? The community aspect really appealed to me. So that's then when I sort of got the passion for it and that's where I started.

 

[00:03:36.820] - Host (Lucinda)
So there was no aspirations as a little girl to be a firefighter?

 
[00:03:40.860] - Caroline Harrison
No, I was going to be a pop star.

 
[00:03:43.020] - Host (Lucinda)
Oh,

 
[00:03:43.540] - Caroline Harrison
I was going to be a pop star, but unfortunately, that didn't carry on. So I was going to be a pop star, or maybe an actress, but I've still got all those skills, obviously, inside me. But, yeah, I went to be a secretary in a legal firm and ended up getting promoted into a legal exec role and thought that was me. And then just at the age 25, completely did a 180 and decided to become a firefighter.

 

[00:04:10.390] - Host (Lucinda)
And do you have any regrets, either of you,for becoming a firefighter?

 

[00:04:12.740] - Caroline Harrison
Not a single minute, not a single minute.

 
[00:04:15.080] - Sarah Holden
No. Best thing I've ever done. It's brilliant. I think you can. I definitely had my doubts beforehand because I joined a lot later than Caroline. I was 37 when I decided to come and on call firefighter, so I was very much, can I do this? Have I missed my opportunity? Is it a little bit too late? And now I deal with people, or I help people who are joining a lot later than that. I was. And, no, I wish I'd done it sooner, but definitely no regrets.

 

[00:04:42.090] - Caroline Harrison
I think the only time I might have regretted it was when I was on the line in my recruits course and telling, pick up your hose. And every time they shouted that thought, oh, I've just left this cushy job, sat behind an office, and now I'm being shouted at.

 

[00:04:57.090] - Host (Lucinda)
Were you in the cold weather too?

 
[00:04:58.800] - Caroline Harrison
Yeah, the January course. January course, you can't run so much because it was icy on the ground and I was thinking, is this the right move for me? But that is probably the only time I ever second guessed my decision.

 

[00:05:12.380] - Sarah Holden
I was the opposite to you, Caroline, because I did my whole time course during winter Hill. So I was on that yellow line, literally, dripping every. Just soaking wet through because it was kind of 30 degrees and we were running out hose. So, yeah, had questionable life choices at that point, but brilliant. Brilliant after the fact, brilliant experience.

 

[00:05:34.650] - Host (Lucinda)
I'm not sure which recruits course I would have rather been on freezing or really, really hot, but either you got the end goal of being a firefighter.

 

[00:05:43.110] - Caroline Harrison
Yeah. I don't think there is a perfect time to do your recruits course. It's a massive, steep learning curve and even, like Sarah says, she's got transferable skills, but even then, you come in and you think, I'm strong and I can do this, and then you come on your first day and everything you thought you knew about being a firefighter, and all of a sudden, that learning curve is massive. You sort of start learning things about stuff that everything in life, chemical incidents, you're going from them to road traffic collisions to first aid, and it's a massive learning journey and sometimes you feel like you're a bit overwhelmed, but obviously you've got your peers around you and trainers that are there to support you, so it is a tough course and I don't think there's a right time of year to do it, but it's doable and we're there. Yeah.

 
[00:06:32.480] - Sarah Holden
And that learning journey you referred to has continued for me every day since I joined. And I think everybody, if they decide to progress through the fire service, there's not a day that goes by that I haven't. I mean, to be honest, this last year, I've probably learned more than I have done in the last seven years. So, yeah, the learning journey, if you decide to continue developing within the fire service, is immense. You can go home and, yeah, like, wow, did I do that today? Wow, did I accomplish that today or, oh, my God, I need to try harder to do that. It never stops. It hasn't stopped for me. Never had it.

[00:07:07.130] - Caroline Harrison
I think even if you decide that you're going to be a career firefighter, that learning journey is always something, because there's a lot of development opportunities staying at firefighter level. You don't have to go progressing through the ranks.

 

[00:07:21.110] - Host (Lucinda)
No, it's just a constant learning.

 
[00:07:23.200] - Caroline Harrison
There's so much room for development and personal growth, and that's one of the best things, I think, about the fire service itself, that you don't stay stagnant. There's nothing stagnant about it. And even your working day is completely different every time.

 

[00:07:39.320] - Host (Lucinda)
Yeah, there's no two days are the same

 

[00:07:41.330] - Caroline Harrison
and everybody says we start at 08:00 and we go in the gym and we do standard tests and we do this and we do that and we think, oh, that's how a day. And then boom, something else happens and you never know where you're going. So that is certainly one of the best things about the job.

 

[00:07:54.340] - Sarah Holden
Yeah. And you've got keep up with all the things that are changing nationally. I mean, now we've got electric vehicles, we've still kind of retraining after Grenfell. There's just so much that happens. That means actually the job never stays still because there could be an incident tomorrow that changes everything for us and we have to start retraining. It's good for people who don't want the same thing every day.

 

[00:08:23.970] - Host (Lucinda)
So going back to your recruits course, were you the only girl on the course? Was there a couple of you?

 

[00:08:31.490] - Caroline Harrison
There was another girl on my course, Fiona. Fiona was a sheep farmer and an athlete and I was not. So she showed me up completely all the time. She was phenomenal. But of course, when she was carrying two loads of hose and I was struggling long behind her with one, I was thinking, you're showing me right up here. But, yeah, there was another. But we were only. I think we were the 6th and 7th girl to join Lancashire. So even then we were still a bit of a novelty.


[00:09:01.630] - Host (Lucinda)
A new thing.

 

[00:09:02.730] - Caroline Harrison
Yeah. And back. You know, I sound like my grandma now, but they didn't have the facilities for us. The moves that the Lancashire and Rescue Service have made now, even in our property, we didn't have proper shower facilities and little things that make all the difference when you're a probationer and when you're a recruit and you're trying to make a good impression and then you're five minutes late and think, and you try to go, I'm really sorry, but.

 
[00:09:29.700] - Caroline Harrison
We had to wait, no, that's not good enough. So the way we are moving as a service is fantastic to see from some of the little things that impacted others.

 

[00:09:39.880] - Host (Lucinda)
Yeah, from back when you joined.

 

[00:09:41.510] - Caroline Harrison
Yeah.

 
[00:09:42.810] - Sarah Holden
For me, on my on call course, I was one of four females out of a course about 24. So that was quite positive. There's definitely a group of us. And then on my whole time course, I was one of five. But I remember going. Starting my first day at my on-call station, I was the only female at that station, also the first female. So went into the lady's bathroom, couldn't even get to the loo because the hoover was there, there was boxes, stores was there, and everything was like, okay, I'll make a little spot. There's now. A couple of females at that station now, but, yeah, it's definitely on the up. Yeah, it's on the right.

 

[00:10:20.040] - Host (Lucinda)
It's so strange to hear that. The small things like the toilets being blocked off or you couldn't have the showers in the building for me now, I wouldn't even imagine that because it's just the facilities are all in one building. Do you find them a challenge? Did they put you off initially?

 

[00:10:34.150] - Sarah Holden
The improvement is snowballing now, like you say, that wouldn't happen now. No, it's snowballing. Just the massive kind of leaps we're making to improve equality, diversity, inclusion. It's just massive leaps.

 

[00:10:49.590] - Caroline Harrison
I think the mindset of the people that work here has completely changed as well, because I think the general mindset when I joined was you joined to become one of the lads.

 

[00:11:03.350] - Host (Lucinda)
Oh, really?

[00:11:06.610] - Caroline Harrison
And I don't know whether I did it to myself. It was just kind of a put up and shut up. I walked into the bathroom and it was the cleaner store and they'd sort of put in a shower because they were getting girls now. But you kind of go, well, I've got a shower and there's a bleach tray and everybody comes in and out of it and that's fine, I'll just cope with that. You didn't speak up because it was a different world and you were a minority, a real minority. You didn't really have anybody speaking up on your behalf. When you look at what we've got now around the wfs and things like that, we've got people with experience and they've got the ear of the chief fire officers and they speak to the NFCC and the information is being fed down from the top. Whereas when you start as a recruit firefighter and you go onto a station, there wasn't a chance I was going to stand there in front of the assistant divisional officer and say, well, these facilities are rubbish. You just weren't going to do it. Now I feel that it's a lot better that I'm not the one that has to stand there and say it because I've got other people fighting for those things for me.

 
[00:12:14.810] - Caroline Harrison
And obviously we do get a little bit involved in that as well. We try to help people where we can and we try to get involved in things with the service, to try and drive the direction that we think would be of a benefit to the service.

 
[00:12:31.490] - Sarah Holden
You're encouraged now to actually speak up if you're uncomfortable with anything or you want to kind of make yourself heard. You're encouraged to voice your opinions. And I think that is becoming more and more. Yeah, it's definitely the way we're going. People wouldn't just put up with it anymore, would they, Caroline? They say, actually, no, I've got an issue. Think. And the service is listening. Our service is listening.

 

[00:13:01.370] - Caroline Harrison
And the people within it, your watch managers, your crew managers, the firefighters, your peers, if you go into the room and say, this is really upsetting me that I'm doing this, even firefighters will stick up for each other.

 

[00:13:13.600] - Sarah Holden
Absolutely.

 
[00:13:14.590] - Caroline Harrison
That is the credit to the service that we have changed as a whole unity rather than. It's not just individuals changing things. Everybody is totally buying into the celebration of difference rather than identifying it as something we just have to get along with.

 

[00:13:33.170] - Sarah Holden
Yeah, absolutely. And what we do now is, and it took some work to make this happen, but we now go into recruits courses. As I'm a representative of women in the fire service and we educate that cohort, male and female, we say, so this is women in the fire service. It's all about inclusion, it's all about supporting each other. And we educate the males as much as the females because they might spot somebody who's struggling or in isolation. And it's everybody's responsibility, male and female. And not just for females either. For all minorities, to actually make people included, make sure nobody. And just spot those signs of if somebody's just not gelling or not kind of fitting in, just make sure everyone's included and give them the opportunity to kind of speak and voice their concerns.

 

[00:14:23.250] - Host (Lucinda)
So women in the fire service, you've both mentioned it. What is that? Is that something that people can look into?

 

[00:14:30.600] - Sarah Holden
Yeah. So like Caroline said, it's all about celebrating difference. It is a national club you can join and there is a women in the fire service group within Lancashire Fire and Rescue. It's just a supportive network. There's also a training weekend every year where you get the opportunity to try things. You might just be a little bit shy about asking on stations. If you want to be a driver, do you know what you can try driving at the training weekend. Do you want to be incident commander? You can have a go at. That does develop your ba skills. You can do that, learn about fire investigation. But, yeah, we're in the fire just. It's a networking group. There's males part of it, too, because we do have lots of males allies.

 

[00:15:15.110] - Caroline Harrison
And we're a corporate member, aren't we?

 
[00:15:16.980] - Sarah Holden
We are, yes.

 

[00:15:19.110] - Caroline Harrison
And I think that means a lot as well, because sometimes if you want to go on events and it may be financially, there's a pressure and you can't afford to do it because we're corporate members. It means that you can then apply for some of the places that we receive through the service.

 

[00:15:35.370] - Host (Lucinda)
So one thing I want to touch on is what advice would you give to an aspiring firefighter? Like a little girl out there that wants to be a firefighter. Is there any tips of advice that you could share?

 

[00:15:49.310] - Caroline Harrison
Yeah, I think I would say that it's hard work. There are times when you have to really dig in. Physically, you have to dig in. So for somebody who was thinking, I want to get into the fire services when I become an adult and leave school, I would say now is the time to start getting into fitness and getting yourself. So it becomes the norm. But my best advice is go down to a fire station and speak to the people there and see it, because it's not the job for everybody. It can be a challenging role. Firefighters find themselves in situations where you have got to have some courage and you have got to show some resilience, because you see a lot of upsetting things. You get involved in things where you think, and this can be down to standing in a mutmid in and thinking, why am I here today? What am I doing in the rain? In the rain? And thinking, why is that group manager making me hold a jet here for the next 3 hours? I don't want to be here. But we have to show that resilience. So I think people need to go and find out what the job is all about, because you've got to take the rough with the smooth.

 

[00:17:00.540] - Caroline Harrison
So when you're on the side of the motorway, cutting a car up in the absolute rain, or freezing cold, or trodging up the side of winter hill in the boiling weather, you've got to have that resilience. You can't just walk away from it. But the other side of that, when you do achieve the goal as a team and you're working together and just serving the community, even the little things that we do around pet rescues and things like that, there is a feel good around that. So my advice to somebody is go and find out about, make sure you understand what the job is, and then it is all around working hard to achieve it, because it is definitely worth it. Apart from being a rock star, it's probably the best job in the world.


[00:17:42.930] - Sarah Holden
I'd agree with what Caroline said, but the other thing is to just have a look fully at what the job entails, because people have an idea of what a firefighter does. And the whole role is actually, there's so many jobs that we do throughout the day, what our timetable is. So incidents could be a small part of that day, it could be school visits, it could be home fire safety checks, it could be testing bits of equipment for three or 4 hours. So just, you need to understand exactly what the. I mean, don't get me wrong, we do get those incidents and they are exciting, but the job, that's the only bit that we talk about. There's a lot more to the job. We're about educating people as well. So you've got to have the confidence to speak. But, yeah, make sure fitness is part of your life and not something that you do to pass a test, because it'll quickly become very hard if fitness is not part of your life.

 

[00:18:39.110] - Host (Lucinda)
So preparing for the fitness is something that's critical, from my understanding.

 
[00:18:45.150] - Caroline Harrison
Yeah, I would say so, because the assessment day is not easy, but it's a different kind of fitness into it. Of course, functional fitness. If you're doing a really good, broad strength cardio training programme, you probably would be able to step up to it. Like I said, I came from an office background and as soon as I thought, right, this is me, I'm going for it. Upper body strength was something that I had to work on and continue to work on now, because it's something that is not something. I don't enjoy it. I play netball, that's the sort of thing I do, but I have to keep working at those things. So if you are coming in and you want the 30, 40 year career within the fire service, you've got to get your head round that. You have to work at that fitness, as well as all the other things that we have to do. That annual fitness test is part of the role.


[00:19:40.330] - Sarah Holden
Yeah, I mean, we just have to log equipment over fields and everything. It is relentless. The course itself is because I was, a little bit later when I joined, was exhausted. It's very doable, but realistically, it's exhausting. I was in bed for like half, seven, eight every night because I was beasted. I mean, I was on course with a lot of people younger than me and it didn't bother them because I joined at 30,

 
[00:20:05.810] - Caroline Harrison
not that much easier at 25. I can assure you.

 
[00:20:09.810] - Sarah Holden
By the time I finished my course, I'd needed.

 
[00:20:14.450] - Caroline Harrison
By the time you finished your course, though, did you not feel like you could run through a brick wall?

 

[00:20:17.580] - Sarah Holden
I was invincible.

 
[00:20:18.570] - Caroline Harrison
Yeah. That is the feeling that when you do that passing out parade and the chief gives you a certificate.

 

[00:20:25.070] - Host (Lucinda)
Is it one of your proudest moments?

 

[00:20:26.980] - Caroline Harrison
Yeah. When you get that and it says you've completed your recruits course, that you do feel. Tell you what,

 

[00:20:35.850] - Host (Lucinda)
So all the struggles, it's worth it. So people out there that are trying and they think it's a lot of hard work, the motivation and the perseverance.

 

[00:20:44.450] - Sarah Holden
Oh, it's brilliant. My family, in fact, because you get, I think, two or four tickets. Well, I was getting other people's tickets that had smaller families, so I not only brought my whole family, but I brought some friends as well. And for your pass out parade, you're all given a certain role and mine was to run up the 13, climb up the 13.5 ladder to the top floor, get on ropes and then dangle all the way down this very dramatic thing and rescue a dummy. Well, it's the best part of the course. I just loved it. And the fact that my family were sat there watching me and my children, because my children were late teens at the time and my daughter was just about to start her recruit course for the navy and I was just the proudest, coolest, strongest mum. I was in tears coming down because I thought, my kids are watching this now and it was just the most awesome thing. Oh, honestly. Yeah, I did.

 

[00:21:39.870] - Caroline Harrison
All my brothers had to bring one of my friends as a wives. None of them were married. None of them married, but they all had to bring one of my friends as the wives all turning up going, which brother have I got? I can admit that now, 23 years later, I think all the senior officers have gone that were here.

 

[00:21:57.360] - Sarah Holden
It's brilliant.

 

[00:21:58.210] - Caroline Harrison
Yeah.

 

[00:21:58.730] - Host (Lucinda)
So you're both mums, aren't you?

[00:22:00.780] - Caroline Harrison
Yes.

[00:22:02.230] - Host (Lucinda)
Is that something that's put a barrier into being a firefighter? I'm just thinking of all the people that might be applying that are mums, and they go, I don't think I can do that, not for me.

 

[00:22:12.040] - Sarah Holden
When I joined on call, my children would have been early teens, so they were at that stage where I was happy to leave them if I got a shout. So there must have been like 13 or 14. There's not much between them, so, no, not really. If anything, they've inspired me to do it and if I've ever had a struggle, they're like, come on, mum, really a good motivation. If anything, my kids are probably the reason why I'm here.

 

[00:22:41.830] - Caroline Harrison
Yeah. I was pregnant and had my children whilst being in the fire service and you work in shifts, so there are some juggling acts to be performed. We work nights, we do 24s when we become flexi duty officers. So you have got to have your home life in order to be able to go and manage your family and your work balance, but it's down to each individual whether that becomes a barrier, depending on the support you've got. And again, how we've changed and we've got adapted to. We work around mothers to be and the fact that if their home life is restricted and they have to do different working patterns, we don't automatically say, right, you are now, Monday to Friday, nine to five, you're on modified duties, you don't touch this. We sort of want to find interesting things with people. Do we want to? So that sort of. Even the maternity policy has progressed, but as far as being a mum, I think it's like any other job, there's going to be a home life balance that you're going to have to overcome and whether that's because you're putting children in childcare and the cost can be massive, but if you work in shifts and you've got children, you need to work your way around that.

 

[00:24:02.930] - Caroline Harrison
And I think there's quite a few of us out there, we've got young children now and we work through it, so they're not insurmountable.

 

[00:24:11.150] - Sarah Holden
I've also worked with a lot of colleagues who've said the two-two-four shift shift system, which is one of our most popular shift systems, it meant that they've actually been there virtually every day, because you have six days off out of eight, so you do two days, two nights, and then you have four days off, six days out of eight that you've got with your children. There's not another job that gives you that time. I mean, I know I'm not speaking from experience, but I've known lots of colleagues, male and female, have actually said, this is the way to bring up kids. Yeah, you do need that supportive network.

 

[00:24:42.750] - Caroline Harrison
Both myself and the children's dad. We're both on two two four, and it meant that we didn't need to have any childcare expenses. We were both there and that meant that our children were with their parents all the time. They were always one of us at home.

 

[00:24:59.230] - Host (Lucinda)
So you can work the job round your motherhood and families. It's not a barrier that

 

[00:25:06.290] - Caroline Harrison
will now find the way.

 

[00:25:07.700] - Host (Lucinda)
Yeah, it's personal to each other.

 

[00:25:10.450] - Caroline Harrison
I like my children a little bit older, but they still need care at night. So I've got a child minder that comes and sleeps over on my 24s you just make things work

 

[00:25:22.150] - Host (Lucinda)
and I think now I want to just ask are there any myths about being a female firefighter that you two want to squash and slightly change the narrative on?

 
[00:25:31.850] - Sarah Holden
For me, people think, well, that you may get in at a lower level or for fitness, and females have exactly the same application process and kind of physical assessments as males do. There is no difference. There's no advantage to getting in. You're not going to get in any easier if you're a female. It's hard work, but it's exactly the same as a male. That's my myth.

 

[00:26:02.540] - Caroline Harrison
Yeah, I think HR now, where you used to have your name on the top of the application form and things like that, I think you're just getting it given a number now.

 

[00:26:10.330] - Host (Lucinda)
Yeah, it's anonymous

 

[00:26:12.310] - Caroline Harrison
Apart from face to face stuff when you come to your pad, obviously, but all application process and anything like that, the people scoring it don't know whether they're dealing with somebody who's male or female, minority or not. And so that scoring process, and then the first time it could ever be impacted is when you're on your pad.

 

[00:26:31.250] - Host (Lucinda)
And that's down to your fitness levels, not to your gender, is it.

 

[00:26:34.320] - Host (Lucinda)
That's scored and you go around with a squad and you either finish in the time or you don't finish in the time. So it is all just the same.

 

[00:26:41.710] - Host (Lucinda)
So it's very much equal opportunities.


[00:26:43.820] - Caroline Harrison
There's so many people who think you've got to be six foot biceps that are like 35 inch and all the rest of it. And there's a certain genre of person that needs to be.

 

[00:26:55.350] - Host (Lucinda)
Well, I assumed that before I joined and I'm in the comms team, but I assumed that I wouldn't be able to because I'm five foot three.

 

[00:27:03.160] - Caroline Harrison
Yeah.

 

[00:27:03.500] - Host (Lucinda)
So I just assumed. Well, and what I wouldn't be able to.

 

[00:27:05.990] - Sarah Holden
Did I ask you before this interview, are you going to join on call? Because you live next to an on call station, so the fire service is open to everybody as long as you can pass those physical assessments. And the.

 

[00:27:20.650] - Caroline Harrison
We have our having the right attributes. the right values, the right attributes that resilience and courage and ability to be able to stand up and help people when they need it. And as long as you've got all those things, it doesn't matter what your background is because everybody comes from a different background and we've all got different things that shape us as a human being. So all that put into the mix allows us to be able to.

 

[00:27:49.350] - Sarah Holden
Create a better service.

 

[00:27:52.790] - Host (Lucinda)
And finally, what does International Women's Day mean to you?

 

[00:27:57.050] - Caroline Harrison
To celebrate celebration of what we can achieve. And it's recognising that some people do feel held back because minority groups do have barriers and depending on what your aspirations are, but it's recognising those barriers and helping people to overcome them. And I think as we look at all the things throughout the year, International Men's Day and all the things that we look at, different barriers for different minority groups are there. And a lot of is it around understanding? A lot of it is understanding why your barriers are different to my barriers. But International Women's Day is around celebrating where we've come from. And I talked about the suffragettes last year at our International Women's Day. From that to where we are, look at the lionesses. And even when the lionesses received the cup, they said, we've done this for all the women that were fighting for the footballers rights in the. They've won it on behalf of them. And I think that's the message, is they started it, we're carrying it on and we're celebrating what we can achieve when we all work together and break down those barriers.

 

[00:29:13.810] - Sarah Holden
I think that's what Caroline said.

 

[00:29:16.530] - Caroline Harrison
Sorry, Sarah.

 

[00:29:17.550] - Sarah Holden
No honesty. Perfect. Absolutely perfect. And that's why you can see the passion, your passion for this.

 

[00:29:25.730] - Caroline Harrison
It's important that we're firefighters and if you are good at your job and you are capable at your job and your attributes are right, it doesn't really matter where you come from and what you're made from, as long as you can do your job and work hard, that's all there is to it.

 

[00:29:42.810] - Host (Lucinda)
So thank you both for sharing your stories and your advice. I really appreciate it and it's made a very special episode.

 

[00:29:49.970] - Caroline Harrison
Thank you.

 

[00:29:50.570] - Sarah Holden
Thank you.

 

[00:29:52.330] - Host (Lucinda)
And remember, if you liked our episodes, please like and subscribe and let's make Lancashire safer together.