A female firefighter fighting a fire

Women in Fire and Rescue Services


The Commission Meeting in Barcelona November 2019

The Commission Meeting in Barcelona November 2019. Photo: Barcelona Fireservice


About The CTIF Commission for Women in Fire & Rescue

Our goals: 

We want to make it easier to get more women into the fire services and to establish equal opportunities for women who are already in the fire service.


Aims of the Commission for Women in Fire and Rescue Services


  • Create definitions (so we’re on the same page when we compare our fire services)
  • Encourage fire and rescue services to be inclusive for everyone
  • Develop and share gender equality plans and best practice recommendations
  • Develop recommendations concerning pregnancy, harassment…
  • Give advice regarding PPE, uniforms, and fire station facilities
  • Identify the number of women in fire and rescue services
  • Improve working conditions for all women within fire and rescue services
  • Learn from each other and collect best practices
  • Make Fire and Rescue Services more attractive for women to apply and become (operational) firefighters and continue to support them to remain in that profession
  • Work on the public image of women in the fire service, intensify communications
  • Encourage more countries to become active members in the Commission for Women in Fire and Rescue Services


CTIF Women Logo


Contact & Ways of Communication

We meet physically and by video conference and in between we communicate by e-mail & Facebook

Contact: Mira Leinonen, mirafoni112@gmail.com

  • We have 2 meetings per year and then Skype and WhatsApp is used within the commission regularly.
  • We have our own Facebook page, CTIF webpage and Instagram
  • Our communications is based on a communications plan. Make yourself visible in order to get results!


    The Commission Meeting in Barcelona November 2019

    The Commission Meeting in Barcelona November 2019. Photo: Barcelona Fireservice



    Chairs and Members:

    Commission Members 2023


    New Board of Directors elected at the Commission meeting at CERN in June 2023: 

    Chair:  Nicola Lown - UK United Kingdom

    Nicola Lown  Nicola moved to Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service and was also seconded from December 2007 for 3 years to the national training centre, the Fire Service College in Moreton-in-Marsh, England, as a station manager in the Incident Command Team and then returned to the London Fire Brigade in 2013 where she is now an operational station manager in the Strategy and Inclusion Team.  Image removed.

    Nicola is an Executive Committee Member of Women in the Fire Service, UK and has been a member for 14 years.  She has been secretary to the CTIF Women in Fire and Rescue Services Commission since the 7th meeting in Stockholm in April 2015 and looks forward to continue sharing best practice with the members of the Commission. 

    Nicola left college with a Diploma for Medical Secretaries in 1988 and moved to London where she worked as a medical secretary until she joined the London Fire Brigade as an operational firefighter in January 1995.  


    Vice Chair Mira Leinonen - Finland

    Mira LeionenImage removed.Mira graduated from Lappeenranta Technical University as a master of science in 2006, moved to Helsinki and started to work as a leading specialist in Finnish Railway Safety Agency.

    In 2008 she started to study along with working life in Emergency Services College in Kuopio, where she graduated in 2010. Since then Mira has worked as a senior officer in Fire and Rescue Services in Finland. In 2013-2016 she worked as a project manager for Finnish safety authorities building a new generations’ s field command system.

    Mira has been an active member of volunteer fire brigade in Anjali since 1989 and been a volunteer fire fighter since 1998. Mira was elected as chair to Finnish women in fire and rescue services in 2015 and the same year she was also elected to chair to CTIF women in fire rescue services commission for next 4 years. She looks forward to Commission work to improve equal opportunities for all in Fire and Rescue services.


    Maria Bitra, Greece
    Maria Bitra, Greece.

    Vice Chair: Maria Bitra  - Greece


    Maria has been a volunteer firefighter for ten years. A 2013 graduate of the Hellenic Fire Academy, she devotes her time as an active volunteer at the 1st Fire Station of Athens City and working as a qualified History and English Language teacher in Primary and Secondary Education.

    She has taken part in various fire and rescue trainings in Greece and in the U.S.A. Among other trainings, she graduated from the New York Wildlife & Incident Management Academy, NY, USA, having concluded training in Wildfires Firefighting - Wildfire Behavior. Also, she is a European Resuscitation Council certified BLS/AED Instructor Trainer. In 2021, she evolved to the rank of volunteer fire sergeant.

    Maria has been a member of the board and head of the International Relations of the Hellenic Volunteer Firefighters Association since 2016 and has been representing the HVFA in the Commission for Women in Fire and Rescue Services since 2021. 


    Ine Olsen - Norway


    Bio will be added soon!



    Commission members:


    Mona Hjortzberg - Sweden


    Mona HjortzbergImage removed.Mona started working in the fire and rescue services in 1997, by participating in a government project that was carried out by the Stockholm Fire Brigade. The project lasted for ten months and was investigating why there were no female full time professional firefighters. In 1998, Mona was hired as a firefighter by Södertörn's Fire Brigade and worked in that capacity for twenty years.

    As an elected union representative, Mona started working in 2007 with issues that concern women at the workplace, such as attitudes towards women, pregnancy, firefighting equipment and protective clothing. During this time, she began forming a nationwide network for women in fire and rescue services. The network, called Women in Fire and Rescue Services, was officially started in 2011. Mona was elected chair that first year and is still chair today.

    In 2013, Mona represented Sweden in the CTIF Working Group Women in Fire Services and was elected in 2015 as vice chair of the Commission for Women in Fire and Rescue Services.


    Susanne Klatt - Germany

    Susanne KlattImage removed.Susanne is currently a division chief with the Essen, Germany Fire Department and a leader in integrating women into the fire service in Germany. After high school Susanne studied safety and fire engineering and holds a Diplom-Ingenieur (Masters) degree in engineering and a bachelor of science in psychology.

    She worked as a safety engineer for an engineering firm on construction sites in Germany and on oil- and gas platforms in the North Sea prior to joining the fire service. She started her career in the fire service as a volunteer firefighter in 1992 and became a career firefighter in 2001.

    After joining the career fire service as a fire officer trainee, she worked as a trainer for leadership, methodology, and fire tactics for the state fire service college of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Susanne has served as a division chief with the Essen Fire Department since 2008. As a division chief, Susanne supervises and commands over 190 fire officers and firefighters.

    She serves as an incident commander for large incidents of all types. She is also responsible for risk assessment, as well as health, safety and environment within the Essen Fire Department. In 2009 Susanne began the Executive Fire Officer Program (US National Fire Academy) and graduated in 2012. In 2006 Susanne co-founded Netzwerk Feuerwehrfrauen, the German network of female firefighters, and has served as its president since then.


    Klara FredhImage removed.Clara Fredh

    Clara Fredh is the Operations Manager of an Industrial Fire Brigade in Stenungsund, on the Swedish west coast, since 2022. She has a background in the Swedish Airport Fire and Rescue service since 2011, both as a firefighter and incident commander.

    Clara represents Sweden in the CTIF Working Group Women in Fire Services and she is a member of the board of the Swedish association for Women in Fire and rescue services since 2022.



    Saskia Pouw - Netherlands

    Saskia PouwImage removed.Saskia Pouw works as an Inspector for Fire Prevention in the Safety Region of Utrecht, The Netherlands.

    Her work consists of inspecting buildings, providing information to schools, supervising evacuation exercises in healthcare institutions, checking events and answering citizens’ questions about fire safety.

    She was a volunteer/part-time firefighter for 10 years, and has been been a member of the Dutch Network of Female Firefighters since 2000 and a Board member for 6 of those years.


    Victoria Zechmeister - Austria

    Berufsfeuerwehr Wien (Fire Department Vienna)

    Einsatzleiterin (Incident Commander)

    Referatsleiterin Nachrichtentechnik

    Technische Angelegenheiten Alarmierungstechnik (Specialist in communication)


    Barbara Szykuła - Poland


    • Senior Captain Barbara Szykuła - Piec
    • PhD in Sociology from The Main School of Fire Service
      in Warsaw
    • Head of the Department of Social Education

    Barbara is driven by a desire to regulate matters relating to equality and support for women in the uniformed services. Women's issues, violence, the glass ceiling, discrimination and stereotypes are important issues which she would like to work with in the Commission.


    Véronique Fouquier – France

    Marinka Cempre -Turk Slovenia

    Janja Kramer Stajnko  Slovenia

    Hiroshi Fukuchi – Japan

    Annick Baustert – Luxembourg

    Pierrette Goedert  Luxembourg

    Gina Sweat – USA

    Peter Søe Denmark

    Ruicka Belanovič – Serbia

    Celina Barrett – Ireland

    Scheila Broderick – Ireland

    Lise Peterson – Norway

    Tatiana Eremina – Russia

    Andrea Fuzy – Hungary

    Clara Latorre Gasull – Spain

    Anik St Pierre – Canada

    Jeonghee Jin – Republic of Korea



    Mireille Glauser – Switzerland

    Bronnie Mackintosh – Australia

    Michelle Young – Australia

    Priya Ravi  India

    Orna Peleg – Israel


    Member Countries and Affliliates

    Member countries: 

    Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States

    Affiliated Countries:

    Canada, Australia, Republic of Korea, Switzerland

    Products of the Commission and Working groups


    • A Survey (Click here to see the Survey Answers)
    • More information and a collection of research papers can be found in the "News" archive
    • Meeting minutes of past commission meetings are alo available in tne "News" archive
    • At the moment we're in process to create country profiles concerning the situation, number of female (operational) firefighters, career opportunities etc. in the CTIF member countries
    History and Background

    The first Women's Committee of CTIF was formed in 1912. It was headed by Maria Ermolova (St. Petersburg, Russia). World War I interrupted their activites and the Committee was not reformed until exactly 100 years later. In 2012 the modern version of the Working Group CTIF “Women in Fire Services” started and the first meeting took place in St. Petersburg, Russia. Two years later, the Working Group was upgraded to Commission Status: 2012: CTIF Working Group -- “Women in Fire Services” and 2014: CTIF Commission -- “Women in Fire and Rescue Services” 

    Chronology of joining member countries to the meetings:

    • 2012 – St. Petersburg (Russia ) - Austria, Russia, Sweden, Germany, UK, France, Serbia
    • 2012 – Bratislava (Slovakia) – Romania, Finland, Japan
    • 2013 – Belgrade (Serbia) – Slovenia, Hungary
    • 2013 – Mulhouse (France) - no new members
    • 2014 – Helsinki (Finland) – Denmark
    • 2014 – Tokyo (Japan) - Canada, USA
    • 2015 – Stockholm (Sweden) –Norway, Poland
    • 2015 – Warsaw (Poland) - Germany, Netherlands
    • 2016 – London (Great Britain) - no new members
    • 2016 – Kongsberg (Norway) - no new members
    • 2017 – Ljubljana(Slovenia)- no new members
    • 2017 – Berlin (Germany) - no new members
    • 2018 – Fairfax County (USA) – Ireland (Switzerland)
    • 2018 – Vienna (Austria) – (Australia)
    • 2019 – Stockholm (Sweden) – Luxemburg
    • 2019 – Barcelona (Spain)
    • 2020  Virtual meeting – Belgium