Times of India (Goa) story Dec 12:
PANAJI: If the state government keeps its promise, then Goa will be the first state in western India to recruit women fire fighters in the fire and emergency services.
However, the new recruits will not land in tough fire-fighting operations straightaway. They will be first put on fire prevention, training and communication duty till they can handle riskier jobs. Atpresent only Chennai and Hyderabad fire brigades have women firefighters.
"A proposal to change the recruitment rules to enable recruitment of women in the fire and emergency services has been received by us and we are in the process of changing the recruitment rules and identifying the posts to be allotted to women in the department," chief secretary Sanjay Srivastava said. "In a critical situation, we have felt that a woman can help another woman better. We have seen during Bicholim floods that women are hesitant when men try to help or rescue them. Therefore, women fire personnel are the need of the hour. Initially, we will recruit women for fire prevention, training and communication duty and also train them as fire fighters to handle emergency situations," said director of fire and emergency services Ashok Menon. Srivastava said, "Once recruitment rules for inducting women in the services are finalized, then we will notify posts to enable the recruitment. This should be done by April 14, 2011." The proposal will go to Personnel department from where it will be referred to the law department, Srivastava added. Sources said the fire department has suggested that a similar criterion as the one adopted by the Goa police in recruitment of female officers be adopted for fire services also.
Home minister Ravi Naik said that induction of women in the force is crucial as they can be involved in rescue operations involving women casualties. All the 13 fire stations in the state will have women fire-fighters, he said.
At the moment there are 507 sanctioned posts in the fire department and all posts are filled by men. Based on the study conducted by the Administrative reforms study, the fire department has sent a proposal to the government to increase the staff strength to 700. "Once the sanction for 200 more personnel is granted by the government and recruitment rules are changed to appoint women, then we will earmark posts for women," added Menon.