Jumping off a red truck and darting into a blazing building while wielding only a water hose and some fire-retardant clothing as cover, is an image that is traditionally associated with men in the Subcontinent. But Shazia Perveen is about to change all that as Pakistanâ€™s first female firefighter.
Shazia, 25, who hails from Vehari District in Punjab, joined the Rescue 1122 emergency services as a firefighter in 2010. Fighting fire with frightening conflagrations in a field feared even by most men, her co-workers acknowledge her determination.
Rescue 1122 claims that Perveen is the first female firefighter in Pakistan, and perhaps in all of Asia.
For Perveen, however, the job has always been a dream despite its inherent dangers. So when the Rescue 1122 Womenâ€™s Department opened up, she jumped at the chance. The prospect of working along with men too did not phase her enthusiasm
â€œSome women avoid and hesitate to work with men. That is where I differ with them and think that we, women, can work shoulder-to-shoulder with men,â€ says Perveen.
But it has not been an easy road to her dream. After recruitment, she had to undergo extensive training at the Punjab Emergency Service in Lahore. â€œAmongst the 600 people there, I was the only woman who completed the training.â€
â€œIt is believed that women are only able to start fires, whereas I have disproved this old adage and now I extinguish fires,â€ says Perveen
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