Interview

An Interview With Dennis Dooshima On Her Life As A Female Firefighter In Nigeria

   

Early this year, the pictures of a beautiful woman dressed in her fire fighting uniform were all over the internet and we were happy to see a woman fire fighter doing getting such admiration. Smartly dressed in her uniform, Dennis Dooshima makes her job look so easy.

In this interview with Sola Abe for Woman.ng, Dennis Dooshima speaks on her life as a woman fire fighter in Nigeria.

About Dennis Dooshima

I’m Dennis Dooshima. I am a native of Tiv from Benue state. I have being a fire fighter for two years. I read Mass communication in school. At first, being a fire fighter wasn’t on the list of jobs I actually penned down but as fate would have it, I am here and I’m loving it.

On inspiration to become a fire fighter

My cousin got burnt to death due to carelessness, so I took it upon myself to do something about fire. Moreover, I love humanitarian work.

A typical day on the field

Tasking and challenging because no event of fire is the same. When there’s fire in a building, everybody runs out but we the firemen go in, rescue and put out fire. It’s really not an easy job to do.

 The best thing about your job

The best part of the job for me is knowing that I am doing my part to make a difference. With all the negatives people tend to attach to us, we’re on ground to do some good, whether paid or volunteer and that is what this job is all about. There will never be a better feeling than knowing you did your part in saving someone’s life, possessions or home.

The most challenging thing as a firefighter

Witnessing all kinds of tragedies, ranging from fire to cardiac arrests, watching citizens’ homes burn, knowing someone is inside and it’s too late for them, watching a local business that you patronize burning, witnessing the deaths of friends in vehicle accidents, deaths of elderly neighbours etc. We see things that the general public tries to put in the back of their minds. We know it’s there but we try not to think of it.

Secondly, the attitude of the general public like the dirty looks, obstructing our fire engine and hand gestures you get when responding to calls in heavy traffic. I swear, some of them think we are just out with red lights and siren wailing on a pleasure drive just to disturb them and/ or make them late.

Challenges you face as a woman fire fighter in Nigeria

Actually, compare to the other armed forces and uniform jobs out there, the risk firemen go through is extremely high so there’s this, it’s a man’s occupation. Also, there’s a tendency to often think that women’s physique or psychology hasn’t quite gotten what it takes to be at the front line.

Things you wish you had known before starting the firefighting career

Well, I would have concentrated more on going to the gym to work seriously because one of our qualities is to be physically fit so when you see a fireman, no matter how small, don’t underestimate.

Where you would like to be in 5 years

I want to be the best at what I do and I want to keep working here to enable me have opportunities to develop my skills, take on interesting projects and work with people I can really learn from. Some of the most innovative thinkers in the industry work here and that’s a big reason why I would love to build a career here.

The challenges the fire services in Nigeria are facing

  1. The mindset of the public towards the fire service
  2. Very heavy traffic on our roads (no fire lane) preventing the smooth movement of our fire trunk to the scene of the incidence.
  3. Obstruction of fire trunk and non-respect for the fire engine siren.
  4. Corporate social responsibility from mega industries, government agencies and corporate organisations in terms of assistance through training sponsorship, funding, donation of kits.
  5. Availability of fire hydrant in and around the states of the federation to assist with water in the fire engine and water tender is exhausted.

Not many people remember us,neither do they even care unless a life or property is lost or saved, yet a lot of you say you hate fire service that they never respond on time or complain of shortage of water, but when you truly need us all that changes. we are still the emergency response service that you call in times of need. Hence, the reason we are here. It doesn't change our hearts, neither does it deter us from carrying out our statutory duties. I've got a few questions for you. Do you know that you can invite us to visit your residence or business and discuss fire safety? Do you have our emergency number? Do you see our fire truck or any emergency vehicle and yield not to allow them free Road access? It's incredibly sad that people are quick to judge forgetting the challenges we do face before getting to the scene of incidence. Instead of allowing us carrying out the duties we are saddled with you start throwing stones at us that we are always late to the scene of fire, always keep calm and support us because fire fighting is everyone's fight. #supportandrespectemergencyresponders

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