For the very first time in Kenya, over 1000 women have been recruited as fire fighters, often a male dominated profession.
In the past, women would hardly signup for the job owing to the risks involved, sacrifice and intensity of the assignment.
“It’s a pleasure being the first ladies to be recruited in the fire brigade. Firefighting is a calling, it’s saving lives. I got inspired and said one day I would like to be a firefighter so that I also save lives, help people and serve humanity,” said 20-year-old Nancy Mongare, a trainee firefighter.
Imagining all the reactions from family and friends for choosing the profession. “Some of my friends were shocked, with my height, my age and I said no, I’m ok with it,” she added while speaking to NTV.
Currently, Nairobi County relies on the Khoja-based fire station on Tom Mboya Street, which was built in 1907, and another station in at Industrial Area that was built in 1957.
However, the World Bank in collaboration with the capital county has set up two new fire stations in Kangundo Road and Waithaka area but they are yet to be commissoned.
Brian Kisali deputy director fire rescue and disaster management, “Initially women used to fear joining the firefighting force. This is a very great achievement, as we have seen during the drills they can work very well,” he said.
The bulk of women only worked in administrative jobs within the fire and disaster management services.
Therefore, for the new recruits it’s very exciting to be the pioneer women in the frontline.
“What attracts me is the way the fire fighters handle themselves, the level of discipline they do have and the fact that they save lives and property and according to the way we’ve been trained and all the skills we’ve gained it is very important to be confident,” said Sylvia Katu, 23, another trainee firefighter.
Previously the fire brigade in Nairobi has received a barrage of criticism for its slow response to fire disasters. The department, however, points fingers to poor infrastructure.
However, the new women recruits said they are ready to tackle all the challenges and leave behind a rich legacy.
Over a thousand women have been recruited this year and will be attached to different fire stations.