CFA Women's Skills Days bring female firefighters together at Huntly

It wasn’t just about skills for the eighteen women CFA members at a training day at Huntly on Sunday. 

It was a chance to feel supported in their roles, and network with other women.

It was the first of four ‘Women’s Skills Days’ in the North West Region. The training aims to provide support for women in the ranks of the CFA. 

In February the CFA launched a campaign to encourage more women to join the organisation.

Sunday saw the firefighters drilled in pump operations, radio procedures and basic fire control practices.

Manager of learning and development for the North West Region Natalie Kenely says the training is part of achieving the CFA’s goal to be more inclusive.

“There is no barrier [for women members], but we want to show there is an area where people can come in and try out, and practise their skills,” she said.

It’s not just training, the day is a valuable chance for women members of the CFA to get to know each other.

Mount Macedon Brigade member, Nicky Haslinghouse says the pressure free supportive environment is a great opportunity to build up the CFA’s women members.

Ms Haslinghouse is also an inclusion and fairness coordinator for the CFA.

“We know women network really well together, and they like to network and meet each other, and find other women in the service who would like to also develop their skills,” she said.

“It’s an opportunity to find women across the North West region and support them to develop their skills on and off the fire-ground.”

Quite often women members of the North West Region don’t get to see each other in their day to day jobs, says Steph Rotarangi.

The deputy chief officer of operational capability at the CFA, said she saw the event as a chance to share skills, network and build a team.

“Traning together with any group across the CFA is fun, but for us to see each other learn some tricks from each other and make some networks, it’s really important,” she said.