“When there’s a fire in a building or a fuel station, everybody runs out, but we firemen will go in, save lives and properties, then put out the fire.”
Firefighting may not land tops when it comes to the most chosen fields, let alone a woman taking up space in the hyper challenging, largely male dominated male profession. But as the days go by, the narrative is changing.
Although Dooshima didn’t start off with the vision of ending up as a firefighter, fate had other plans. Raised in Gboko in Benue State, she studied Mass Communication, the famed firefighter got motivated to join the fire service after her cousin got burnt to death. Also, inspired by the aim of changing the negative perception of the public about females being fire fighters as well as bringing enlightenment about the profession, upon being enlisted in the Federal Fire Service, she embraced the calling with hopes of merging her humanitarian vision with firefighting.
On how her loved ones reacted to the news of her enlisting in fire fighting, she tells Pulse:
“They have always encouraged me and used to tell me to add wings to my dreams and become what I desire. When I cracked the exam, they were shocked because no one in my family has done this kind of job before. They gave me positive vibes. It has been an enriching experience and a matter of great pride to be a part of firefighting.”
What it’s like being in a male dominated field:
“I don’t feel that being a female in a very male-dominated profession has affected my job, but I do think being a female who demands to be treated with respect and as a woman, not a man, has affected the way some of the guys do things at the department. First, let me start by saying that I am a woman, and I am proud to be a woman. I am not a man, and I don’t want to be treated like a man. But I will train with the men, and I will keep up the best that I can. Sure, there are some things I can’t physically do, but that doesn’t decrease my value. The fire service is all about being a man, and they yell and scream because that’s what I went through when I was learning to be a firefighter. I am doing everything to the best of my ability, I am giving it my all too. I do my job because I am a woman. I react differently to situations than the men do, but I get the job done.”
Typical day like:
“(It’s) tasking and challenging because no event of fire is the same and I just want you to picture it when there is a fire in a building or a fuel station everybody runs out but we firemen will go in, rescue and put out the fire,” she says.
The perks of being a fighter? Being of help is all the reward Dooshima longs for.
“For me it is the fact that I am able to become a small link in helping people who are in deplorable conditions and to be able to see the joy in their eyes when they receive aid – especially children, women and men. It brings tears to my eyes. I am happy to be a helping link. They were in a bad situation and because of an intervention they are now able to be in a different situation and that is most rewarding for me.” She says in an interview.
According to her, the fire fighting profession offers great promotional opportunities with diverse range of specialisms means women can take on any one of the different avenues from community safety, fire investigation to rope rescues, and water rescue. It is a skilled professional job and every day is different; and it is challenging. You never know what you are going to face, but one thing you can guarantee is that it is rewarding.”