A NEW push to get more women signing up as firefighters has launched on International Women’s Day.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service teams are urging women to visit taster days as part of the diversity drive.

Among those backing the recruitment campaign is Bicester firefighter Clare Crisp, a former primary school teacher, who has been battling fires for a year.

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She said: “I had been thinking about becoming a firefighter for years and, to be honest, I wish I had done it sooner. It is the best job in the world.”

Ms Crisp joined the fire service after a ‘taster’ day at Didcot Fire Station in 2017.

The freelance writer said she had attended 200 call-outs, including fires at HMP Bullingdon, animal rescues, including a horse stuck across the partition in its horsebox, and property fires.

She said: “ One close to home was the Lisseters shop fire. That was a long job and quite risky, with the thatched roof next door.

“I was up a ladder with a hose for several hours, but we managed to save three of the four walls of the property, which is quite satisfying.”

On-call firefighters often have day jobs, which they drop at a moment’s notice if called into action.

The hours are flexible to each person and can be worked out with the various stations around Oxfordshire.

There are 330 on-call firefighters across the county, with just under eight percent being female.

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Ms Crisp said: “You never know what’s coming next. During last year’s heatwave, field fires were a major problem. Each time we put one out, there’d be a fresh call from another farmer.

“It is relentless, but very rewarding to know you’re saving people’s lives, property and livelihoods.”

She added: “Fire doesn’t discriminate and neither does the fire service. If you think you have what it takes to be an on-call firefighter, we want to hear from you.”

The taster day for women is on April 6 at Didcot Fire Station.

For more details on signing up to the fire service see oxfordshire.gov.uk/oncallfirefighters