A German woman’s holiday to Skye led to a new home and career as a firefighter

A video games tester who moved to Skye from Germany says a chance encounter led her to take up the role of on call firefighter in her new community.

Miriam Ascher, 26, says she never dreamt of becoming an emergency responder.  She grew up in a small city close to the German capital of Munich, but a family holiday to Skye in 2013 set her on a different path.

Having fallen in love with island life, Miriam took the decision to move to Skye in 2015 to work as an au pair and begin an online archaeology and environmental studies university course.

Female firefighter rolling a red hose

It was a chance encounter with her postman, who also happens to be Watch Commander at nearby Dunvegan Community Fire Station, which fully set Miriam's sights on the on call role.

She reflected: "I never ever expected to become a firefighter. It wasn't anything I ever considered.

"But, having moved to the area, the opportunity to be part of a team and meet new people was a real motivation. This job has allowed me to become good friends with people I would likely never have met otherwise.

"The community of Skye took me in and welcomed me, so it's very satisfying to be able to give back and be there for people in their times of need.

"The on call firefighter role has its challenges, but I absolutely love it."

On call firefighters respond to emergencies via a pager during agreed working hours and often balance the role with additional employment and family life.

A passionate video gamer, Miriam now balances her emergency role with work as a video games localisation tester, which sees her gain access to pre-released games to ensure they are translated into German correctly.

Miriam is now keen to see others within her community step forwards and become on call firefighters - particularly those from underrepresented groups.

She said: "There is no set stereotype for the firefighter role.

"My brother works in a nursery and my parents often joke that we have swapped gender stereotypes."

"My parents never expected me to become a firefighter, but they love that I have done so."

"On call firefighters are so important to communities like Skye, so it would be great to see more people consider the role - I'd recommend it to anyone."

Visit the on call recruitment pages of our website for more information and for current opportunities.

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