Helen paves the way for female fireys

As part of International Women’s Day, CFA is celebrating some of its incredible members throughout the week.

Barwon Heads Fire Brigade Captain Helen Wood has been a member of CFA since 2003, but her passion for volunteering started from a much younger age.

From age 17 Helen spent a number of summers volunteering as a surf life saver at Barwon Heads 13th Beach Surf Live Saving Club, something she returned to in 2002 after years of living in the UK.  Although she loved it there she wanted to dedicate her time to something that wasn’t so seasonal, so when her friend suggested she join CFA she welcomed the opportunity with open arms.

“There had been female members before my time, but when I joined CFA I was the only female volunteer at my brigade,” she said.

Although this may seem a bit daunting for some, CFA very quickly became a second home for Helen. It’s where she met her husband, some of her closest friends and developed into the vivacious leader she is today.

Helen loves to keep herself busy juggling her job as a Practice Manager at Geelong Hospital’s Renal Department but not once has she considered CFA in any way a chore.

“CFA is my outlet and keeps me grounded,” she said.

“It hasn’t always been easy, but you have to believe in yourself and your abilities,” she said.

In 2015 Helen was one of 50 emergency service volunteers from across the state awarded a scholarship to take part in the VFBV Volunteer Leadership Program.

“I really felt this would be an opportunity to learn a bit about myself and to grow as a leader” she said.

“The course has given me invaluable practical and interpersonal skills and confidence to step up as a leader in both my professional and personal life.

“Encouraging more women to take on decision-making roles will make CFA not only better representative of the community but a more effective organisation.”

Helen is proud of her brigade and the opportunities it has offered women but she knows there is still a long way to go before females are equally represented within the organisation.

“At the end of the day the person that calls Triple Zero doesn’t care who’s driving the truck; they care that you show up and are there to assist at their time of need.

“Male or female… What’s the difference?”

Author: CFA Media