Edmonton’s first female firefighter Shirley Benson gains another first
30 years after she became Edmonton’s first female firefighter, Shirley Benson is once again making history.
Last month she was promoted and became the first woman in department history to be district chief.
Speaking on 630 CHED’s Ryan Jespersen Show, Benson explained what drew her to firefighting.
“I started as an EMT, so I worked quite closely here in the city with fire and police. And the more I saw fire the more I thought, ‘Wow that’s something that’s totally suited to my skill set.'”
With women still underrepresented in Edmonton Fire Rescue, Benson said it’s kind of a sisterhood between those on the force because they all know how difficult it was to get to where they are and make a career out of it.
But, to be clear, Benson has never looked at herself with the term ‘female firefighter.’
“I’m a firefighter who is female. First and foremost, I’m a city of Edmonton firefighter, before all else that’s who I am at the core even. And then just secondary to that it just happens that I’m a woman as well. So, that’s how I look at it.”
With the promotion, Benson said her day-to-day duties will include more administrative work, rather than pulling a fire hose.
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