To mark International Women’s Day today, we spoke to one of Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service’s senior operational staff, Station Commander Amy Bailey.

In her role as Station Commander in the Community Risk department, Amy has a key role in fire prevention and protection.

“It’s important because all the work that we do goes towards the organisation’s objective of saving more lives – reducing the risk of fire, protecting the most vulnerable in our community and limiting the damage done by fire,” said Amy, who joined HWFRS after a spell  in the ambulance service.

“As a Station Commander, I have a number of staff reporting to me. I co-ordinate activities and make sure we are achieving our departmental targets, working with partner agencies to identify new ways of better targeting those who need our help the most, such as those with mobility impairment, smokers and hoarders and looking at how we can help keep businesses safe from fire and helping them to reduce risk at their premises.”

Amy joined the fire service at 22 and has seen her gender as neither an advantage nor a disadvantage.

“When I am at an incident, I always bring my skills and experience to bear,” she said. “I don’t believe that’s any different to what anyone would do, whether male or female.”

Amy believes that there is still plenty of scope for more women to serve within fire and rescue.

“There is still a huge difference in the numbers of men and women within the service,” she admitted. “But there has been an increase in women serving and high profile appointments such as Dany Cotton, who is the first woman to serve as Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, can only help.”

With two young children, Amy admits that it’s not always easy to get the work-life balance right.

“It’s difficult for everyone, whatever job you might happen to be in, but the Service does offer some flexibility with a variety of roles and work patterns,” she said.

“Like most people, I am looking to progress in my career and develop my skills but, whatever role I’m in, I’m determined to do the best job that I can.

“I would recommend a career in the fire service to anyone – there are a range of opportunities once you are in the role and there are many different departments within the service, such as fire control and technical fire safety as well as the operational side.

“All organisations benefit from having a diverse workforce. We all bring a variety of skills, experience and knowledge to the day-to-day running of Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service and having more women within the service will help us to better reflect the communities we serve, engage with them better and be more inclusive.”