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Blazing a trail in the fire service

Jo Reynolds, Britain's first female firefighter, front right, with her colleagues in 1982
Jo Reynolds, Britain's first female firefighter, front right, with her colleagues in 1982

A woman who made history as Britain’s first female firefighter has revealed all in a book.

Jo Reynolds made headlines in 1982 when as a 17-year-old she joined the fire service.

She faced some male prejudice but went onto enjoy five successful years in the service.

Over the years she tackled a wide range of incidents.

Now, she has written about her time in the emergency services in her autobiography Fire Woman.

She said: “I saw an advert to become a fireman and I didn’t know that there were no other women in the service.

“The men I did my 15 months of training with were OK.

“There were a few people I came across who were a bit off because I was a woman.

“There was no way that I was going to be the weakest link just because I was a woman.”

Jo, formerly of Stamford, was based at Thetford Fire Station, in Norfolk.

She went onto make further history by becoming the first woman to pass a test to drive a fire engine.

She said: “It was scary doing the job but you don’t really think that you will die.

“We had lots of traffic accidents and some large factory fires.

“I loved my time in the fire service. We were like one big family.”

She added: “I found it awful writing about myself at first but then I really got into it.

“There are still a few women in the fire service and I hope to inspire a few more to join.”

Jo, 52, left the fire service in 1987 and went onto do charitable work in Asia. Fire Woman costs £9.99 from Waterstones and Amazon.


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