Christina Nugent applied to become a firefighter 10 years ago and hasn’t looked back since – in fact the mum-of-two wishes she had done it sooner!
Christina is now 51-years-old and is still giving her fellow firefighters “more than a run for their money” in the gym.
She is encouraging other women to go for it and apply to become a firefighter – just as long as you have the dedication to maintaining the fitness levels required for the job.
Prior to joining West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS), Christina worked for Leeds City Council for 17 years as a fitness advisor and has won the Indoor Rowing World Championships three times!
She joined the Fire Service after visiting Stanningley Fire Station, in Leeds, where she now works as a whole-time firefighter, to see what the job entailed.
Christina said: “You are never too old! I asked if it was possible for me to come and do a station visit – I did not know anything about the technical side of being a firefighter but I had a look at the attributes you needed and thought – I could do that!
“I did not find it daunting. Some of the lads I work with are younger than my 28-year-old son!
“Everyone, whether you are a man or a woman, needs to maintain their fitness levels to do the job so you are working effectively as a team. I work with some fantastic people and everybody is an individual and respects each other for that.”
Christina, who lives in the Pudsey area of Leeds and also has a 14-year-old daughter, said people often don’t realise the range of work carried out by the Fire Service.
She said: “It’s not just fires that we attend it’s also crashes, water rescues and all sorts of emergencies.
“We also do a lot of work in communities to prevent fires from happening in the first place and it may be that you come face-to-face with some very vulnerable people during our Safe and Well home checks.
“You need to have the gift of listening and also be non-judgemental but then you also need be good at solving problems in order to help people and to make them safer.
“The next day you could be doing a school talk!”
In her spare time Christina likes to run, cook, socialise and of course row!
In December she returned from a year off work to renovate an apartment she bought in Italy!
She said: “I was 51 and had to be re-tested on my return to work in the Fire Service to ensure that I could still make the grade – I passed so that proves that you can still do it in your 50s!”
Christina said she has no intention of leaving the Fire Service any time soon.
“As long as I’m doing the job and feel like I’m doing it as I should then I will stay as long as I can,” she added.
Christina is a menopause champion within the brigade and supports other women within the service at this phase in their lives.
She is one of around 50 females in West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service who carry out operational roles.
The women range in age from 30 to 51 years of age.
There are two current female operational employees aged 51-years-old, including Christina.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is currently recruiting for whole-time firefighters and is encouraging people from all walks of life to apply.
To apply visit www.joinwyfirefighters.com before March 26.