At last, a fe­male driver for Toko­roa fire bri­gade

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

Do not be sur­prised if you see the fire truck in Toko­roa hurtling out of the sta­tion with a wo­man at the wheel be­cause Toko­roa Vol­un­teer Fire Bri­gade has its first fe­male driver in six decades.

Emily Fid­dis passed a spe­cialised driv­ing course last month and her su­pe­ri­ors could not be hap­pier.

Toko­roa Vol­un­teer Fire Bri­gade chief fire of­fi­cer Dave Mor­ris said: ‘‘ She is the first (fe­male) driver that we have had here in 60 years of ser­vice.

‘‘From our per­spec­tive, I just think it’s great,’’ Mr Mor­ris said. Other bri­gades had fe­male fire­fight­ers, he said but Toko­roa had one who had pro­gressed to be­come the town’s first fe­male driver. ‘‘It is quite unique,’’ he said. The bri­gade has four fe­male fire­fight­ers and Mr Mor­ris hopes to put the other fe­males through the same process.

The 25-year-old Fid­dis has been a qual­i­fied fire­fighter for five years and had to com­plete the re­quired driv­ing course over two week­ends in Novem­ber.

‘‘The first week­end we were out in Mount Maun­ganui and we went for a drive around Whakatane, Kaw­erau, back to Ro­torua and then back to the Mount ( Maun­ganui),’’ she said. ‘‘Ba­si­cally we were just get­ting used to town and city driv­ing. Then dur­ing the sec­ond week­end we went on a night drive. We also drove the back roads to Kawhia and Raglan, back to Hamil­ton and on a night drive to Tau­ranga.’’

She was the only fe­male on the driv­ing course.

Fid­dis’s in­ten­tion was clear, she wanted to prove that fe­males could drive too.

‘‘Be­cause I am a chick, I just wanted to show that I could do it. There is no limit to what we can do,’’ she said.

She has since been on her first drive to a fuel spill.

‘‘It was quite good be­cause I pulled up (at the scene) and some­one said ‘ it’s a lady driver’.’’

LEAD­ING THE WAY: Toko­roa Vol­un­teer Fire Bri­gade fire­fighter Emily Fid­dis is the first fe­male driver for the bri­gade in 60 years.

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