Women firefighters
22 Feb 2018

Survey: Women in Fire & Rescue Services


The CTIF Commission for Women in Fire & Rescue Services  is conducting a survey about working practices, maternity leave and particular issues that affect women. The Commission has established four working groups in the areas of family and caring, statues, technical and physical issues and career/support. The survey is an initial effort to explore three of the above-mentioned areas: family and caring, statutes and career/support.


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By Mona Hjortzberg / CTIF Commission for Women in Fire & Rescue Services

The focus is on operational firefighters only - that is, firefighters who attend incidents, including those in a command role, and who may put themselves at risk to save a life or property.

We kindly ask all members to answer the short survey when it comes out later in March. The information will be collated and best practices will be shared.

If you are unsure about how to answer or any other questions about the survey, please feel free to contact Mona Hjortzberg at mona.hjortzberg@kommunal.se.

Thank you for your participation.

A previous survey has been conducted. Below some of the results of the first survey will be listed - however a new survey will be out in March.



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The Women in Fire & Rescue Services Commission have established four working groups under the following headings to collate information as follows:

Family and Caring

  • Pregnancy
  • Maternity Policies
  • Nursery/kindergarten facilities



  • Salary
  • Retirement
  • Definition of a firefighter


Technical and Physical Issues

  • Uniform
  • Physical fitness



  • Promotion
  • Culture


The Survey

These are the answer we have collected so far. Please note that more answers are still expected to come in, as some data is imcomplete at the present time.


1. Is your national and local Fire and Rescue Service a State or Municipal Service?

  • London Fire Brigade – metropolitan
  • United Kingdom – metropolitan/non-metropolitan, private, nuclear
  • Sweden – municipal, private organizations - nuclear, airport
  • Norway – municipal and private organizations
  • Denmark – municipal and private organizations
  • Slovenia – municipal, private organizations, airport
  • Austria – municipal, private organizations, airport
  • Serbia-State-Ministry of interior affairs,private organisation-airport


2. How many operational women firefighters do you have in your Fire and Rescue Service (State or municipal)?

  • London Fire Brigade, UK – 327 – 6.87%
  • Serbia-volunteer-150, Proffesional-65


3. How many operational women firefighters do you have in your country?  How many chiefs do you have?

  • Sweden: 194 full time – 3.9%, 616 part time – 5.8%, 5 Fire Chiefs
  • Finland:  volunteer -10%,
  • England: 1,262 whole time  -4.99%, 525 retained duty – 5.5%. One Chief Fire Officer (two from 1 January 2017)
  • Slovenia: 3 full time – 0.4%, 12,000 volunteer – approximately 15%
  • Austria:19,672 – 6% (2015)
  • Norway: 4 full time Fire Chiefs
  • Serbia- volunteer-6%,proffesional-2%


4. Do you have volunteer Fire and Rescue Services?  State whether you have a Brigade/Station/Fire Department/Fire and Rescue Service and what they comprise?

  • UK – none
  • Slovenia – 1,300 fire stations, 15 professional Fire Brigades (stations)
  • Norway – none
  • Sweden – yes
  • Austria – 4,503 fire stations volunteer, 314 Works Fire Brigades, 6 Professional Fire Brigades
  • Finland – 709 fire department 491 volunteers, 200 part time, 18 industrial fire brigades.  Full time 112.


If you have any questions about the Survey, please contact one of the below:

Operational firefighters:
Mona Hjortzberg: mona.hjortzberg@kommunal.se


Firefighter and other roles:

Rita Kirsebom: Rita.kirsebom@kongesberg.kommune.no



These are our definitions for the two main roles of persons working in Fire and Rescue Services. It is important to know the background and understand how we have defined these roles, in order to correctly answer the survey.

Operational Firefighter - A person who uses specialist equipment and clothing to protect themselves from their working environment and who may put themselves at risk to save a life or property.  This also includes those who are more senior and who attend incidents in a command role.

Firefighter and Other Roles. - May wear a uniform provided by their employers and carry out a role eg, emergency dispatch, Fire Safety and Prevention but do not attend operational incidents and do not put their lives at risk (as above).  Other roles are support roles for the Fire and Rescue Service, eg, IT, administrative tasks, psychologists, teachers, policy writing, etc (There are many definitions within this “other roles”)


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By Mona Hjortzberg,Vice chair of CTIF Commission for Women in Fire & Rescue Services

Published by Bjorn Ulfsson / CTIF NEWS