THIS year’s theme of ‘Cracking the Code’ resonates with an Air Force firefighter who is passionate about female leadership in the firefighting industry.
Joining the Air Force in 2019 as a firefighter, Leading Aircraftwoman Emma Andrews has been part of a dynamic and team-focused workforce, where the ‘brawn over brains’ attitude no longer exists.
After growing up in southeast-Victoria and working in law, Leading Aircraftwoman Andrews wanted to explore a different area of what she was capable of within the ADF.
She found herself drawn to the scientific aspects of firefighting and was first posted to RAAF Base Tindal in the Northern Territory, learning the technical components of fighting a fire and saving lives. When explaining the physical elements of the role, Leading Aircraftwoman Andrews said women and men are all taught how to carry people in similar ways, so the least amount of exertion is required and energy is conserved.
Teamwork is crucial because every person has their limits, no matter the size of their muscles.
“The brilliant thing about women in the firefighting role is that there is no difference,” Leading Emma said.
“It’s one of the job roles that really clearly defines that it is about personality and grit. It’s about who you are, not about your gender.
“The more that we see that and the more that it is demonstrated, not only to the public but also around Defence, I think it’ll give a lot of courage to women, like me, who just want to have a different career.”
After Tindal, Emma moved to RAAF Base Amberley where she works as the SME Firefighter managing emergencies in the Air Base Command Post.
“When they are in the fire trucks and they’re going, “I’m following and helping them with all the background.
So that’s all the support services, the information that they require, all of the equipment and if they need more things brought in,” she said.
Moving forward, Emma wants to be part of the change as more and more women join the Air Force as firefighters.
For those who are considering joining the Air Force, Emma said a great firefighter is someone who is observant and can understand the dynamics of a fire, what all the agents do and what the truck can do for them.
More info: airforce.defencejobs.gov.au