October 22, 2014 7:34 am

For the first time in years Saskatoon welcomes a female firefighter

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Watch above: first female firefighter in five years joins Saskatoon Fire Department

SASKATOON – After weeks of extensive training, Dara Uzelman-Muench is prepared to put her life at risk to save yours.

“I call it my homework. I have to work out pretty much every day to be strong enough to do this job,” said Uzelman-Muench, a firefighter with the Saskatoon Fire Department.

Previously, Uzelman worked for the Moose Jaw Fire Department for two years.

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She has a petite frame and is the first to admit she’s not as strong as the men but says female firefighters have unique skills to offer.

“If there’s someone caught in a vehicle, I maybe can get in there and do that,” she said proudly on her last day of training.

Uzelman, 34, also points out that having a soft voice and a nurturing spirit makes victims more comfortable with her and has been useful during patient care.

It’s been more than five years since the Saskatoon Fire Department hired a female, according to Assistant Chief Morgan Hackl.

He says gender holds no weight in the decision.

“The testing years ago, we used to do an actual physical test within our department that was biased towards males because there was a strength component to it. Today, it’s a very multifaceted testing process,” said Hackl.

Hackl said fewer females apply for the job and it remains a male-dominated profession.

With the city’s population increasing, the fire department hired nine new recruits, carefully selecting them from hundreds of applicants.

The department employs 280 firefighters; seven are female.

The new firefighters completed training last week and officially begin work this week.

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