Girls on Fire boosting female participation in emergency services

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Girls on Fire, a not-for-profit organisation aimed at improving gender diversity and inclusion in the emergency services sector, has expanded its training program to include aviation firefighting and rescue services with a training camp held in Tullamarine.

Hosted by Airservices at its Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) at Melbourne Airport, the training camp saw 65 girls and gender diverse participants from 15 – 19 take part in a one-day camp to provide practical experience in firefighting.

Girls on Fire leaders took participants through hands-on practical rotations which included activities such as gas-prop fires replicating engine and ground fires, chopping-up cars using the jaws of life and search and rescue exercises in rooms filled with training smoke.

Bronnie Mackintosh, Founder of Girls on Fire, was excited to train more young girls and gender diverse kids in emergency services.

“We want to increase the number of girls and women in emergency services in communities across all Australia by giving them hands on, practical experience.

“We want to empower young people to become leaders in their communities, and the Girls on Fire training camps are a great way to do this, while also building the resilience of communities,” Ms Mackintosh said.

Jessica Forrest, NAB Executive Sustainability said the banking industry has seen the benefits of a more diverse workforce, which reflects the community it serves.

“Banking was traditionally masculine, and it is far more inclusive today, which is why we’re thrilled to partner with Girls on Fire to help empower the next generation of firefighters.

“With increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters, we need the best and brightest first-responders defending our communities. It takes many hands,” Ms Forrest said.

Flames in front of a replica being extinguished by firefighters in a training exercise
A Girls on Fire participant learning how to put out a fire at the Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting facility at Melbourne Airport.

Kristin Alston, ARFF Leading Fire Fighter, is excited to help foster young women’s careers in the emergency services at the event.

“You can’t be what you can’t see,” Kristin said. “I joined ARFF after being referred to it by a friend – I didn’t even know this job existed prior to that, so I love educating young women and girls about the ins and outs of a fulfilling and rewarding career as an Airservices aviation rescue fire fighter.”

Notes

NAB’s involvement with Girls on Fire began in 2021 when it was awarded a NAB Foundation Community Grant. The NAB Foundation Community Grants program is part of NAB Ready Together, an initiative that helps customers, colleagues and their communities withstand natural disasters.

About Airservices Australia

  • Airservices Australia is the Federal Government-owned organisation responsible for the safety of 11 per cent of the world’s airspace and the provision of aviation rescue firefighting services at Australia’s busiest airports.
  • ARFF is the only national fire service in the country – a rapid intervention, first response service which engages within minutes of any incident, whether it be a first-aid call, fire alarm or an aircraft in trouble.
  • Airservices employs more than 800 aviation rescue fire fighters. An additional 48 aviation rescue fire fighters will join the service in 2024.

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