A firefighter has told how joining the fire service gave her the opportunity to give back to her hometown

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Alison Robertson moved back to Grantown after living and working in London for more than two decades. In 2013 after seeing a poster about retained firefighter recruitment, she decided to challenge herself and join the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

More than eight years have passed since joining Grantown on Spey Community Fire Station, she has risen through the ranks and now serves a Watch Commander at the busy Highland station.

“I wanted to be a firefighter when I was at school, but I was talked out of it at the time,” Alison explained.

“When I moved back to Grantown after 23 years of working in London, I wanted to give something back to the community. I saw a poster about recruitment and thought I’d really like to challenge myself. I gave it my all and I was so happy to be successful.

“I didn’t expect to be Watch Commander for a two-pump station, but it shows what hard work and dedication can achieve in the fire service.”

Throughout her career, Alison has actively encouraged other women to join.

She continued: “It’s a really great job for anyone, especially being retained and I love that age is not a barrier in SFRS as long as you are fit and healthy. I was in my late forties when I joined so it demonstrates what you can achieve with hard work, determination and a passion for the role. You can fit your career around your home, work and family and it is very rewarding contributing towards community safety.

“When I joined, I was the only women at the station, now there are two of us. My colleagues were so welcoming and supportive of me and women in general in the fire service.

“There are some really inspiring female role models in the service, but what is clear is that everyone is rooting for you.

In October last year, Alison was part of a group of women who hosted a women-only online information event.

She recalled: “It was great to be a part of that group of women with different skills and experiences to share them with women thinking about a career in the fire service. It’s something I’m keen to be involved in again in the future.

“We each bring different skills and qualities to the role, but we all go through the same tests and challenges to get here.

“A career in the fire service is very rewarding, but what sticks out for me is the training, teamwork and support – that’s what gets you through any challenging situations.”

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