Becoming a firefighter was never something that crossed Kylie Evans’ mind when considering a career. She performed well academically at school but knew that she needed to do something that was both practical and physical. She couldn’t stand the idea of being cooped up in an office all day.
Kylie decided to become a personal trainer and one day a client and friend suggested that the two of them try out for MFB. Her friend argued persuasively that the physical component of the application process would be the ultimate test of fitness. Always keen for a challenge, Kylie accepted.
When I initially applied for the fire brigade, I actually didn't do it with the ultimate belief … that I would actually find this as a career. When I applied, it was out of interest to try something physical, it was a little bit of a competition with a mate, and it was with a lot of ignorance as to what the job actually is.
For Kylie, each step of the process was both exciting and nerve-wracking. ‘The only fear I had was a fear of not making that top percentage to get through to the next stage’, she remembers, ‘because the more I did … the more I needed it. And it just filled this hunger for me to want to be a part of this amazing organisation’.
Out of the 35 new recruits in her training course, five were women. Before the formal recruit training commenced, Kylie attended a family and friends’ information session. She brought her husband along with her.
She remembers walking into the session and the MFB representative at the door immediately reached out to her husband, shaking his hand and saying ‘Congratulations on getting into the fire brigade’. Kylie remembers it as ‘one of those fantastically awkward moments’. But over the years that she has been part of MFB, Kylie has noticed the cultural change that the inclusion of a more diverse workforce has brought. ‘That environment where we’re embraced as part of the team’, she reflects, ‘has definitely grown for the better’.