Sgt Hasna Juma Al Shamsi gets help preparing for her first firefighter challenge from fellow UAE member, Hassan Al Babooshi.
From left, First Sgt Meera Al Mansoori, Cpl Merfa Anbar Al Mazroui, First Sergeant Maitha Saeed Al Zaabi and Sgt Hasna Juma Al Shamsi gather for the UAE World Firefighter Challenge 2014
“Yes, it is dangerous – but you save lives. There is nothing more honourable than that,” said First Sgt Al Mansoori, centre.
“I feel very lucky to be part of the team. We are always there for each other,” said Sgt Al Shamsi, right
The UAE World Firefighter Challenge 2014, held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre last week as part of the International Exhibition for Security and National Resiliance, was launched in 2009 and attracts hundreds of competitors each year.
There are six different tasks: stair climb with a high-rise pack, hose hoist, forcible entry, hose advance and victim rescue. It is not for the faint hearted.
Since the induction of the first 24 female officers into Abu Dhabi police on April 22, 1978, the number of women on the force has grown to 3,000. There are no training programmes for women who want to become firefighters but this could change in the not so distant future.
“People, especially men, think that only a ‘kheshna’ [rough] woman would join this field, when we are actually more girlie than most of our friends,” said First Sgt Al Zaabi.
“There is a sisterhood you find here that you don’t find much in other lines of work,” said First Sgt Al Mansoori.
When the women are out of uniform they dress in immaculate abayas and shaylas, wear heels and look like typical Emirati women. Graceful and gentle, they go about their work and all enjoy the order and decorum that comes with being an officer. But dare to slight these ladies, and you will see what they are made of.
While traditionally a male dominated profession, civil defence and fire fighting may soon welcome its first batch of Emirati women.
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/women-put-the-fire-into-firefighting#full#ixzz2yAeqdbzP
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