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Women in firefighting

Announcement on diversity and women in firefighting issue to NSW firefighters and FBEU members.
It caused significant discussion (and criticism) at fire stations and online.

March 11, 2016

The FBEU has a proud record on the question of women in our industry stretching well beyond our support for the then-NSWFB Chief Officer, Rex Threlfo (himself a former FBEU President) in the re-introduction of women into the job in 1985. I say “re-introduction”, because hundreds of women actually served in the NSWFB’s Women’s Fire Auxilliary (WFA) during WW2. Then-Union Secretary, Jim Lambert challenged sceptical “firemen” in the Union’s December 1944 journal, rhetorically asking “Do you know that women carried out watchroom jobs in London during the blitz?”.

It should therefore surprise nobody that the Union today supported Commissioner Mullins (also a former FBEU official) when he announced “changes to the fire service’s highly competitive permanent firefighter recruitment campaign in a bid to ensure more women get the chance to join its firefighting ranks.” Click here for a copy of today’s FBEU and FRNSW media releases.

The Union’s progressive stance on women in our industry has always placed us on the right side of history and while not all members will agree, today’s stance will come to be seen in the same light.

Darin Sullivan
President and Acting State Secretary

Fire Brigade Employees’ Union

About Darin Sullivan (1967 Articles)
President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union and a professional firefighter with more than 25 years’ experience. Father of two daughters, he lives and works on the NSW South Coast, Australia. He is a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around him. He is a Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and works with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist he has long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. Now a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and has decades of experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. He is passionate about highlighting the impact climate change is having on fire preparedness and fire behaviour in Australia, and the risks associated with inaction on climate change. Darin is also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.
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