A screenshot of WIFR's Monday March 28 meeting.
01 Apr 2022

Report from the CTIF Women in Fire & Rescue Services monthly meeting


The CTIF Commission for Women in Fire and Rescue Services is one of our most active commissions and runs online meetings once per month, plus regular monthly presentations online. Like several other commissions and working groups in CTIF, the commission also aims to resume their physical face-to-face meetings during the INTERSCHUTZ expo in Hannover in June. 

Monday April 28:

Our Chair, Mira Leinonen, began the meeting and managed all of the introductions.  Mira  reminded us all of the CTIF statement regarding the invasion of and war in Ukraine and that both Russia and Belarus are suspended from CTIF at the moment https://www.ctif.org/news/official-statement-ctif-executive-committee-regarding-ongoing-armed-conflict-ukraine . 

According to the Ukraine government, sadly 18 firefighters have been killed, around 40 have been injured and 80 fire stations are destroyed in Ukraine since 24 February. 

Regarding the massive amount of support internationally throughout CTIF's membership to help Ukraine, you can read about it here: 




If you have some leaders of your FRSs who you think would like to help and be a strategic link, please ask them to whatsapp our firefighter colleague in Ukraine - Alina Kozlova (Contact Mira Leinonen for phone number to Alina)

Alina has also joined the WhatsApp group for the Commission on Ukraine’s behalf, however for the moment has other more pressing issues to be concerned about.  We wish her and her colleagues and fellow Ukrainians our support and hope that they stay safe in these very worrying times.

Mira also thanked Lise Peterson, Norway, who is stepping down from representing Norway in our Commission as she is leaving her position with the fire department at the end of May. Lise wrote ‘I want to thank you and all our great colleagues for being able to be a part of the group and the network. I have learned a lot from our meetings, and been inspired by everyone. I only wish I had had the opportunity to meet more often in person. But maybe i will meet some of you again in the future, who knows?  Please give my best regards to everyone.’

She will be starting in a new position with the city of Stavanger as head of emergency preparedness and community development and we would like to formally thank her for being part of our Commission and wish her much success and all the very best in the future.  Another member will be nominated in her place.

Louis Perreaux, a student at Bordeaux University introduced himself and give a short overview of his work collecting data with regard to numbers of women firefighters – professional and volunteer in the EU.  His findings so far are sadly unsurprising in that approximately 5% of professional firefighters and approximately 15% of volunteers are women, but he is yet to gather all of his data for a final report. 

Louis would really like to hear from Italy, Latvia, Spain, Bulgaria and France with regard to statistics, and so if you can help, please e-mail him at louispbelgium@gmail.com.  We also wish him the very best when he begins his career in France as a professional firefighter the end of April – keep on bearing the torch of equality and diversity as you go forward Louis!  Louis will be back to report on his findings later in the year.

Our main speaker, Lydia Wilcox, Ontario, Canada has worked in the fire service for 14 years as both a front line firefighter and now in the role of Fire Prevention Officer. Lydia has been a board member of Fire Service Women Ontario (FSWO) for 10 years,  an organization working towards encouraging, empowering and educating women in the fire service and those aspiring to be.  Lydia introduced an FSWO toolkit that will assist fire services to address and meet their equality, diversity and inclusion goals. 

https://fswo.ca/resources  The Insights Study (Academic Research) can be found here

https://fswo.ca/toolkit Each section of  the toolkit can be downloaded and viewed here

Below is a link to Lydia’s Major Research Paper looking into barriers for women getting into the Fire Service.  She completed this for her Masters Degree in Public Administration and a lot of her research was utilized in the Insights Study and the Toolkit  https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1183&context=lgp-mrps

 The FSWO’s next steps are to create and present the engagement pieces to chief officers so they can better absorb the information as there is a lot of it. This will be completed as of early May 2022 for the Recruitment and Hiring sections of the toolkit.

If you have any questions or would like the work sent to you by e-mail, please feel free to contact Lydia directly on whatsapp or on   lwilcox575@gmail.com

We would like to thank Lydia for her work and her presentation – such great work that we can all use!  

The Commission will also be sending out an official invitation, once a date is confirmed, to a face-to-face meeting for those who can attend at Interschutz, Hannover, Germany between 20-23 June.  Susanne has reserved 7 double rooms from 20-25 June at approximately 190 Euros per night per room and these can be reserved directly with her susanne.klatt@feuerwehr.essen.de  (you do not have to reserve for every night).  There is a train ride of approximately 30 minutes from the hotel to the Interschutz site.  Watch this space for further information!

Very importantly as well, our Dutch colleagues will have their 25 year network for women celebration on Friday/ Saturday 24/25 of June in the Hague, Netherlands and so it may be possible for some of us to combine both meetings.  There are several workshops planned for example,  demonstrations, creative workshops, sail with the beach brigade, the youth fire brigade, how to extinguish dune fires, a city walk in The Hague, sport activities etc and in the evening a party, with workshops again the next day. There are some workshops in English so enough to do for international attendees and an interpreter will be present. There will be more guests from other countries and the keynote speaker is Dany Cotton, retired Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, UK. 

Please contact Claudia Prins  claudia.prins@brandweer.vrhm.nl and/or Saskia Pouw S.Pouw@VRU.NL if you are interested in attending.

Mia Albertsson also shared a link and urged us to watch the following uplifting video to cheer ourselves https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=B4U2LRv233Q  Thanks Mia! 

Finally, our next meeting will be with Marc Nas from CERN in Switzerland https://home.cern/ .  He will be introducing CERN and future cooperation with CTIF WFRS Commission on Monday 2 May 2022 (changed from 26 April) – you will receive an updated invitation by e-mail and an agenda nearer the time.

Take care folks and stay safe.

Nicola Lown

Group Commander, Professional Development and Learning, London Fire Brigade


 A screenshot of WIFR's Monday March 28 meeting.
 A screenshot of WIFR's Monday March 28 meeting.