A mother-of-two living in Enniscorthy has created history by becoming the first ever female firefighter in the town.
Jenny Carlisle, who is originally from Dublin, has been living in County Wexford for over 20 years and always had an interest in joining either the gardai, army or fire service and that dream was realised last week when she was welcomed through the doors in Enniscorthy Fire Station.
“I’ve been in Enniscorthy Civic Defence for around three years and a few years ago I tried to get into the gardai and the army,” said Jenny.
“I always had an interest in stuff like that and then when I saw the ad for the fire service I decided to apply.”
Jenny’s grandfather was in the Royal Air Force, however, he passed away when her dad was four and while she never knew him she acknowledged that it might be from him that the interest in the emergency services came from.
“The Dublin Fire Service would interest me but I am really happy now to be in Enniscorthy,” she said.
Jenny was full of praise for her fellow-firefighters here and said they have been very welcoming to her.
She said the attraction to the service was two-fold and that in addition to the buzz of the job and the excitement of the unknown in dealing with different types of situations Jenny said the idea of helping people was a major draw for her to the role of firefighter.
“You don’t know what you’re going to be facing but you know you are going to help someone so I think the attraction was both of those things,” she said.
Jenny did her training over an intensive programme over three weeks in Bunclody, from Monday, October 4
Despite it being very challenging she said the course was intense and was very challenging from both a physical and mental perspective.
However, Jenny enjoyed it all and she said some of the experienced members of the fire service told her that she will learn a lot on the job and that’s something she is looking forward to.
She said her children, aged 16 and 13, are proud of her being a firefighter and so too is her mam and other relatives.
“I suppose they are a little nervous too but they are proud of me as well,” she said.
Jenny lived in Ballymurn for 20 years but to enable her entry to the fire service she moved into Enniscorthy.
Such was her commitment to joining the emergency services that she also changed jobs and now works in Greenville Stores in the Moyne.
She is extremely grateful to Michael and Eileen McHugh in the shop for accommodating and supporting her in terms of her being on call.
“I really appreciate their support,” said Jenny.
She is determined to get as much experience as she can on the job and when she spoke about her role she was awaiting her first call out.
“I’m on second call this week and I’m just waiting now for a call out,” she said.
Jenny is also hoping she might be able to participate in some of the occasional visits firefighters pay to schools and in particular show female pupils that becoming a firefighter is possible regardless of whether someone is male of female.
While admitting that she is a little nervous ahead of her first call out, which is to be expected, Jenny has total faith in her colleagues in Enniscorthy and their professionalism.
“I would use the supports available and there are many there nowadays,” she said.
“There is also support available to families of firefighters too,” she added.
She said one of the biggest things to get use to will be the on call nature of the job and its impact on family life.
“I’m expecting that to be one of the biggest changes and will take a little getting use to for us all but it will just take a little time,” she said.
“I’m really looking forward to it and getting used to the job.”