WITH only 46 women firefighters in Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) last year, there is a revised focus to make recruitment more inclusive by stamping out gender stereotypes, including dropping the job title “fireman”.

As previously reported, women make up less than five per cent of firefighters across DWFRS according to the latest Home Office staffing figures.

Now DWFRS has said “more is being done” to close the gender gap, including the promotion of women firefighters already in the service, organising events and visiting schools.

Author of ‘Firefighter Ruby’, Emma Greenhalgh, has used her experience in West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to write a book that gives the message that “girls can be heroes too”.

Speaking to the Journal, Emma said: “Traditionally firefighting has been seen as a male occupation which may have played a part in preventing women from joining, which is a shame.

"Stereotypes around firefighting being a male-only career are giving some girls the impression it’s not a job they could do when they are older, which is sadly closing doors in their minds to what is a great profession, at a very young age.”

In response to recruitment data published last week, members of the Journal Facebook page said the recent figures reflect that women just do not want to be firefighters and “want to be rescued”.

However Emma added that recruitment figures for women are “moving in the right direction”, but the misusing of the word “fireman” could prevent women from thinking the job is for them.

She said: “I think the general public, the media and indeed schools, can have a really positive impact simply by being mindful of using inclusive language and not resorting to stereotypes when describing firefighters.”

Salisbury firefighter Lisa Morrell said that gender “has nothing to do with what she does”, adding: “In the past I have been treated different for being a woman, but times are changing.”

Firefighter Ruby can be purchased through the FirefighterRuby Facebook page or on Amazon.