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Golspie female firefighter wants to inspire others

By Alison Cameron

Andrea Macdonald
Andrea Macdonald

Scotland’s only female airport fire manager has called on more women to follow in her jet stream.

Golspie-born Andrea Macdonald said she hopes to inspire other women to pursue a role in the fire service.

Andrea is one of four female firefighters based at Inverness Airport. Today, less than 10 per cent of UK firefighters are women.

Andrea told the NT: “I was born and raised in Golspie and always wanted to be a fire woman. It’s the ‘London’s Burning’, lifesaving role you play as part of the emergency services which had me drawn in. My friends and family thought it was quite funny and I guess, at the time, it was an unusual career choice for a young girl.

“Throughout school I was encouraged to pursue what was considered a more appropriate career and studied law at college in Glasgow. A regular 9am-5pm work schedule followed and I was soon itching for a change. It was a fire service recruitment sign at a local station that caught my eye and prompted me to apply to be a firefighter.

“There were a number of physical fitness and practical tests alongside the application but I’ve always been active so these weren’t too daunting. Before long, I was a Retained Fire Officer in Northamptonshire and then joined the HIAL Fire Service at Inverness Airport in 2012.

“I like to think that gender is less significant in this day and age, mindsets are changing. I can’t deny that it can be tough at times. My challenges have revolved around the fact I’m younger than many of the team I manage, which is sometimes wrongly interpreted as less experienced.

“After a period of two years as airport fire manager, I’ve found HIAL incredibly supportive of me in this role and I’m fortunate that I have a good working relationship with my colleagues and there’s camaraderie within the team.”

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