'A role model to female firefighters nationwide' - celebrating a first at March fire station
PUBLISHED: 11:43 02 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:43 02 December 2019
A Cambridgeshire firefighter has become the first female at March Fire Station to be the officer in charge of emergency incidents and qualified to drive a fire engine.
Firefighter Vicky Vata was successful at the crew's drill night on Thursday (November 28) where she was assessed by officers from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service's training centre.
The qualification, known as "safe to ride" means Vicky will ride a fire engine as the officer in charge of an incident, taking details from emergency call handlers and ensuring the crew tackle the emergency safely. Vicky can also drive a fire engine if another qualified officer is available.
Vicky said: "I've been at the station now for a few years and have enjoyed serving my local community, which my employer, the Oliver Cromwell Hotel, has supported me with. I'm very proud of the role we have in the town and I want to make sure we are able to respond to emergencies around the clock, which is why I wanted to gain more skills and offer as much as I can.
"The crew here have been very supportive and have helped me immensely through the process. Being able to practice leading incidents during drill nights and also learn from the experienced people at the station has proved so valuable.
"I wasn't really aware that I was going to be the first to pass the qualification, I just wanted to make sure I was giving the most I possibly can to the community."
Watch commander Andy Powell said: "Vicky is not only a great firefighter but is also a very positive influence at the station. She is keen to help others and is often first in the queue to help with community visits to the station.
"This marks the culmination of a lot of hard work, not only from Vicky, but the rest of the crew that have helped with hours on the drill yard getting ready for the assessment."
Station commander Ian Smith added: "We are all extremely proud of Vicky; this is a great achievement for her and the station. One of the service's key priorities is to encourage more women to join as operational firefighters, which Vicky has been very helpful with.
"Vicky has shown how development opportunities are available for firefighters once they join the Service, which will hopefully help encourage more people to join.
Vicky was joined at the drill night by Mayor of March, Councillor Rob Skoulding, to celebrate passing the assessment.
Anyone living within five minutes of March, or any other on-call station, could join up as a firefighter.