Firefighter inspired to walk in the footsteps of her female firefighter role model
08 March 2021
After dreaming of becoming a firefighter since childhood, the encouragement of a family friend led to Hannah Smith making that dream a reality when she joined the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in 2016.
At the age of 18, Hannah had just finished high school and was delighted to be joining the crews at Nairn Community Fire Station as their newest retained firefighter.
She explained: “It had been a childhood dream of mine to become a firefighter. My mum’s friend was a firefighter in Edinburgh and we’d often spend school holidays with her.
“I went along to the station with her and she introduced me to role and from that point on, I fell in love with the job and lifestyle.
“She is my role model and her encouragement helped give me the confidence to go for it.”
In 2019, knowing her passion for the fire service and determination to become a wholetime firefighter, a senior officer encouraged her to attend a women-only open day.
She continued: “It was a great experience for me, but it also gave me the opportunity to show the women attending that retained is another option available to them.
“My wholetime training began in January 2020 and when I got the news I’d been successful I was really excited. My experience in retained gave me added confidence going into the role.
Now Hannah is based at North Anderson Drive Community Fire Station in Aberdeen, and she maintains her retained role in Nairn.
Hannah explained: “From day one, I was part of the family and I want to continue to support them and the community. It can be a challenge, but it’s worth it.
“I’ve had some really memorable experiences in the fire service, one that always makes me laugh was within my first year.
“We got a call to attend an animal rescue and as more information came through, we discovered an eight-month-old kitten was stuck in a tree as we had to rescue it – that old cliché.”
She continued: “I’ve learned a lot from my training, my colleagues and the incidents we’ve attended.
“During road traffic collisions, I often speak to casualties and try to keep them calm during what can be a very distressing time.
“A woman’s voice can be soothing for people in that situation and I’ve developed techniques to get them talking and sharing their stories.
“The last five years have gone in a flash, but that’s what happens when you’re doing something you love.”