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'Really looking forward to it': Regina Fire's first female firefighter set to retire


Marianne Boychuk has spent 27 years and 9 months in the Regina Fire Department.

“Firefighting is one of the best careers in the world, if you talk to a firefighter most of them will say they love their job, they love everything that they do,” she told CTV.

However, after almost 28 years, she feels as though it’s her time to hang up the jacket.

“It feels so right, everything is really good right now and it’s time for me to go and let somebody else fill my shoes, so to speak. I just had the greatest experiences on the fire department.”

“There has been some challenges, no doubt about it, being the first female on the job and them not really being prepared for you but we worked through it, came up with solutions, and we’re to a point where we’re very female friendly.”

And it seems to be a milestone everyone in Regina Fire recognizes.

“It’s a milestone, Marianne was the first woman to work in the fire department in Regina here, so to see a career come full service is a big accomplishment for her and we’re proud of her,” said Deputy Chief of Operations, Gord Hewitt.

Boychuk retires as a captain and as she leaves the department, there is just one woman out of 260 firefighters left in Regina Fire.

This is something she and Hewitt are working to change as she transitions out of the role.

Boychuk helped organize and facilitate an information session for potential female firefighters, having them wear the gear, cut up cars, and work together to find out what the job is really about.

“We had many women that attended there actually leave there thinking, yeah this is a career for me, even including my own daughter. I’m a third generation firefighter and I always thought my son would be the fourth generation, and my daughter could very well be the fourth generation,” Hewitt explained.

She said that the response from her teammates just shows that Regina Fire wants to encourage women to join.

“When your Chief and your Deputy Chief and firefighters brought their daughters, that tells you this is a place they want women to be.”

She said that many women felt intimidated at the beginning of the session, but by the end, she saw them walk out a few centimetres taller, with about 95 per cent saying they were interested in pursuing the career.

Boychuk added without a lot of representation, it’s not necessarily a career women gravitate towards.

This notion that a firefighter has to be the most fit and physically capable is sometimes daunting as well.

“They need to be physically fit, but its very team oriented so really anyone that’s been in sport and it’s a team effort,” she said.

In addition, she said women bring qualities to the department that men may not naturally articulate.

When she first joined, and they would be called on as first responders, often times she was the one taking on a caregiver role, as it came easily for her.

“They kind of looked to me and I was the kind of natural kind of fit for that where I held somebodies hand and I just let them cry and that tends to, I’m not saying men can’t be that, but it tends to be a trait that women hold.”

Boychuk added that as an addition on the team, her male colleagues learned from her in certain situations.

And she said that needs to continue in the department.

Saying it is a safe space for women, she and her fellow female colleague have never felt threatened or disrespected.

She wants young girls and women to know that this is a career path that women can and do excel in.

Both Boychuk and Hewitt said that the community needs to be represented in the Regina Fire Service, and they hope to portray that to potential employees, promoting diversity and inclusion.

Boychuk sees the role of women growing in Regina Fire’s Department. A four-year-old at McDonald’s saw her in her gear, walked up and said, ‘I’m going to be a firefighter.’

“And she said, ‘I’m going to drive this fire truck’, and I was almost in tears because that meant she already felt, at four, that she can be anything she wants to be, and when she left, the boys yelled out, ‘See you in 16 years,’” Boychuk said. Top Stories

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