By joining the professional fire brigade, Michaela fulfilled her big dream. He has been a volunteer firefighter for three years. “I moved to Dolní Měcholup, where they had posted an advertisement that they were looking for volunteer firefighters. I primarily thought they preferred boys, but I told myself that I was up to it and that I thought I could do it. I applied, I went to the interview, the guys tried it out with me and I stayed there,” said Michaela Bleska.
The physical tests were demanding, because Michaela had no concessions compared to the men. But she left nothing to chance. “I prepared thoroughly. I run the TFA sport, which is preparation for the trip. He runs in full armor and with a breathing apparatus, with everything, I’m used to the load. We run obstacles, we pull dummies, it’s a complex training, it was a great benefit for me,” she let herself be heard.
She says she has no concerns about how she will fare in a predominantly masculine environment. “I believe that we will live together. I think I can function in a men’s team, I’ve already verified it, so I think it will be fine,” she added.
Michaela already has about fifty trips with the Měcholup volunteer firefighters. She intervened in technical matters, fires or extraordinary events. She experienced the most severe impact in April 2020, when a fire broke out in Prague’s Černokostelecká street. “We arrived on the scene as the second unit. It was an apartment fire, 14 people were injured, burned, including six small children. We had to provide pre-medical care, it was a difficult intervention, but I think we managed it,” she said. Her first 24-hour duty at the Prague fire department awaits her on Saturday, September 3.
Michaela is not the only woman among professional firefighters. Out of a total of 10,550 professional firefighters in the Czech Republic, 969 are women, but they mainly serve in operational centers or in the department of prevention and protection of the population. “40 years ago, when I joined the fire department, I remember women going out, but even then they didn’t serve as firefighters, they served on the truck as signalmen. Then the situation changed, I think we have to go with the times. The situation is increasing,” said Vladimír Vlček, general director of the HZS of the Czech Republic, at a press conference on Thursday, adding that, especially in Western Europe, three to five percent of firefighters are on call.
“We don’t want to make any differences between women and men, if a woman fulfills all the qualification requirements that we want from men, there is no reason why she should not be included in the field unit,” he added, adding that the event should be seen as an opportunity that can improve the work of firefighters .
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Michaela was also welcomed by the Minister of the Interior Vít Rakušan (STAN) among the professional firefighters. “Applying a different approach towards the sexes at this time, when the given adept or adept meets the prerequisites to be able to hold the given position, is not part of today’s thinking,” he let himself be heard.
He also revealed to Blesku that since the news of Žďárská’s acceptance spread, other women have been applying. “I have a liberal attitude towards their reception. But I add that firefighters must maintain their professionalism. The requirements for a woman on the way out are really the same as for a man, and rigorous physical tests. Logically speaking, more men will succeed during them, but closing that environment just for them does not seem like the right decision to me,” he said.
The first woman, Michaela Žďárská, started working in the field unit of professional firefighters. Blesk.cz – Ivan Hladík
For the first time, a female firefighter joined the professional field unit of firefighters in Prague’s Holešovice. In the picture, Michaela Žďárská.
Author: Blesk: PHOTO: Jiří Koťátko / CNC