Female firefighter steps up

BURNING AMBITION: Trudi Hicklin has become the first female firefighter in this drict to attain the rank of Station Officer and lead a fire crew. Her boss and her crew reckon she’s doing an excellent job of it. From left are SO Hicklin, senior firefighter Dave Covell, firefighter Christian Evans, senior firefighters Aubrey Yates and George Clarke and Blue Watch boss Senior Station Officer Bernie Bull. Picture by Paul Rickard

GISBORNE firefighter and mother of three Trudi Hicklin stepped up into the role of Station Officer at the Gisborne fire station late last year, the first woman to do so as a paid firefighter here and in the Central North Island Fire and Emergency NZ region.

The 36-year-old joined what was previously known as the New Zealand Fire Service as a volunteer soon after arriving in Gisborne in 2003.

She taught at Lytton High School for three a half years from that time.

She and husband Michael have three children, Ruby (7), Finn (5) and Evie (2).

“Being a firefighter was something I always wanted to have a go at,” she said.

“I immediately enjoyed the work involved and the camaraderie. Every day on shift brings a sense of adventure with it.

“I enjoyed it so much that I decided to apply and become a professional fulltime firefighter.

She became a professional firefighter in 2006.

“I progressed to senior firefighter and had my babies along the way, then decided that a move up to Station Officer (SO) was the right next step to take to develop my career.”

She completed the two years of training involved and qualified 18 months ago.

“The opportunity came up to apply for the position of Station Officer at the Gisborne station late last year.

“I was successful and was appointed in November.”

“It’s a huge change from being a firefighter. But I was ready for the challenge.”

SO Hicklin leads a team of four in her fire appliance as part of Blue Watch, under the guidance of Senior Station Officer Bernie Bull.

“Trudi is a diligent worker,” said SSO Bull.

“She did really well to qualify through the two-year Station Officer programme, and the boys in her crew all reckon she is going really well.

“The main thing is she is consistent and fair with her crew, which is what we want.”

SO Hicklin said everyone had been supportive.

“Which I really appreciate. Adding a woman to the job adds to our diversity, and diversity is important in all workplaces,” she said. I think it leads to greater organisational success.

“It’s also good to be a role model for other women who want to aspire to positions of higher authority in their workplaces.”

Michael said he and their family were immensely proud of her achievement.

GISBORNE firefighter and mother of three Trudi Hicklin stepped up into the role of Station Officer at the Gisborne fire station late last year, the first woman to do so as a paid firefighter here and in the Central North Island Fire and Emergency NZ region.

The 36-year-old joined what was previously known as the New Zealand Fire Service as a volunteer soon after arriving in Gisborne in 2003.

She taught at Lytton High School for three a half years from that time.

She and husband Michael have three children, Ruby (7), Finn (5) and Evie (2).

“Being a firefighter was something I always wanted to have a go at,” she said.

“I immediately enjoyed the work involved and the camaraderie. Every day on shift brings a sense of adventure with it.

“I enjoyed it so much that I decided to apply and become a professional fulltime firefighter.

She became a professional firefighter in 2006.

“I progressed to senior firefighter and had my babies along the way, then decided that a move up to Station Officer (SO) was the right next step to take to develop my career.”

She completed the two years of training involved and qualified 18 months ago.

“The opportunity came up to apply for the position of Station Officer at the Gisborne station late last year.

“I was successful and was appointed in November.”

“It’s a huge change from being a firefighter. But I was ready for the challenge.”

SO Hicklin leads a team of four in her fire appliance as part of Blue Watch, under the guidance of Senior Station Officer Bernie Bull.

“Trudi is a diligent worker,” said SSO Bull.

“She did really well to qualify through the two-year Station Officer programme, and the boys in her crew all reckon she is going really well.

“The main thing is she is consistent and fair with her crew, which is what we want.”

SO Hicklin said everyone had been supportive.

“Which I really appreciate. Adding a woman to the job adds to our diversity, and diversity is important in all workplaces,” she said. I think it leads to greater organisational success.

“It’s also good to be a role model for other women who want to aspire to positions of higher authority in their workplaces.”

Michael said he and their family were immensely proud of her achievement.

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