May 12, 2018 7:53 pm
Updated: May 13, 2018 3:46 pm

Exploring careers for women in emergency services

WATCH ABOVE: A one-day event gave women the chance to learn what it takes to work in emergency services in Saskatoon.


The Saskatoon Fire Department and Saskatoon Police Service teamed up on Saturday in an effort to show women and girls what a career in emergency services looks like.

The goal was to increase the number of female applicants to both professions.

READ MORE: For the first time in years Saskatoon welcomes a female firefighter

“It’s just about getting the right person in the right career and not having obstacles like gender in the way,” said Debbie Davies, a 24-year member with the Saskatoon Fire Department.

Sema Seyli attended the event and heard firsthand from women who work in the police and fire professions.

“It’s great being surrounded by all these professional people and the fact we have opportunities to ask all these questions and learn even more about this wonderful job,” Seyli said.

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Seyli is a paramedic student and hopes to one day become a police officer.

“I just like helping the people who are really in need of help. They’re probably having the worst day of their life at that moment, and we are the ones who go and help them,” Seyli said.

Participants took part in a number of activities from trying on equipment to checking out the indoor gun range.

“There’s going to be many things they’ll be exposed to today and hopefully it just plants that seed,” Davies said.

The fire department hired their first woman in 1992. Today, women make up three per cent of firefighters in Saskatoon.

“Now Saskatoon Fire Department has nine female firefighters, where Regina has two, Swift Current has one and P.A. has one,” Davies said.

READ MORE: ‘She broke barriers’: Remembering Toronto’s first black female police officer

The Saskatoon Police Service’s sworn members who are female are roughly 22 per cent.

“We were approaching 30 per cent about ten years, so our percentage is dropping, which is a bit disconcerting,” said Sgt. Tonya Gresty, a 17-year veteran with the Saskatoon police.

“If we’ve accomplished that there’s 100 women and young girls that leave here today saying, ‘Maybe emergency services is something I should consider,’ I’ll be happy with that,” Gresty said.

Gresty said the showcase will likely become an annual event.

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