Traditionally being a “fireman” was, as the name suggests, strictly a male pursuit but today, in Ronda at least, the person who turns up to save you in an emergency may well be a “firewoman”.
Twenty per cent of the fire fighters are women which places the town of the Tajo at the top of the European league.
It was back in 1985 that the first ‘bombera’ was employed in Spain. Obviously things have moved on since them and whilst women joining a still strongly male team feel some initial nervousness they soon bond with their male and female colleagues.
Alejandro Hurtado, who is the chief of the fire service in Ronda, stated: “We are companions from day one and they are perfectly integrated in the squad.” He added that he was perfectly satisfied with the work of the female crew members.
In Andalucía at this time there are over 2,500 fire fighters. Of that total just 32 are women and three of them are in Ronda. Some good way still to go before equality is established but as the ‘bomberas’ in Ronda say as a new female colleague joins up: “ya éramos uno más” – “now we are one more!”
By the by I am dedicating this piece to my editor at the Costa del Sol News, who yes is a woman, and who I know is a ‘bombera’ at heart!