Burnley firefighter Lucy hopes her passion for the job will ignite a spark in other women to follow in her footsteps

While she may admit it was not the job she dreamed of doing as a little girl, firefighter Lucy Dutton could not imagine doing anything else.

By Susan Plunkett
Wednesday, 8th December 2021, 3:45 pm

Lucy joined Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service eight years ago and for the past five years she has been based at Burnley with Green Watch.

Currently on modified duties while she awaits the birth of her second child in May, Lucy is one of seven female firefighters at Burnley. Just 20 years ago this figure may have been zero.

The days of the role of a firefighter being considered a 'man's job' are long gone and Lucy is living proof of that.

Burnley firefighter Lucy Dutton loves her job

"Providing you can achieve the fitness level required for the job there is no reason why a woman cannot become a firefighter," said Lucy who is 33.

"It's a fantastic job and what I love about is no day is the same, you never know what is going to happen."

Lucy, who is mum to Archie (three) had planned to become a PE teacher and gained a degree in the subject, but after deciding it wasn't for her, she went to work for Pendle Leisure in a variety of different roles.

It was when one of her colleagues at Pendle Leisure mentioned that he was applying to become an 'on call' firefighter, formerly known as retained firefighter, that the spark to join was ignited in Lucy.

Lucy with her husband Mark and their son Archie who is three

Lucy, who lives with her husband Mark, who is a teacher, was accepted and loved the fact she could be a firefighter while still doing her 'day' job. So it seemed a natural progression to move on to become a wholetime firefighter.

Being part of an all male team does not phase Lucy at all, mainly because she isn't treated any differently.

"I am just part of the watch," she said. "We have firefighters here from the age of 19 up to 57 and we are all a team."

Lancashire Fire and Rescue has an ongoing campaign to recruit more firefighters from underrepresented social groups including women, LGBT and BAME applicants.

Lucy joined LFRS eight years ago and is one of seven female firefighters at Burnley

The service is committed to equality, diversity and has an inclusion strategy. The maternity policy has been updated, offering six months full pay, which has made a huge difference. It makes the profession more attractive and also practical for women.

According to figures published in March, 2020, seven per cent (2,461) of firefighters were women and four per cent (1,410) were from an ethnic minority.

Lucy, who has mentored a number of young female firefighters, said "You have to be serious about wanting to do this job.

"We can usually spot those who really want to do it during our open days."

Lucy (far right) and the rest of Green Watch at Burnley Community Fire Station

There is also support, help, advice and counselling readily available for anyone who feels they may need it.

Lucy's advice to any women who would like to join the fire service is to just go for it.

She said: "Come along to the fire station to find out what the role involves or speak to firefighters to find out about the job.

"It really is a fantastic job. There is so much more to it than just putting fires out.

"I really feel we help so many people in many different situations and it is such a worthwhile job."