The inspiring true story of Josephine Reynolds, Britain’s first full-time female firefighter
When Josephine Reynolds signed up with the Norfolk Fire Service in July 1982 at just seventeen years old, there was no such thing as a firefighter – only firemen. Set against the slate-grey backdrop of early 1980s Britain, Fire Woman is the story of how a young woman brought up in rural Wales coped in the testosterone-fuelled world of the fire brigade, where
even today 96 per cent of all staff are male.
In a life packed with incidents – where lethal forest fires, escaped zoo animals and unexploded bombs formed a background to the everyday toll of death and disaster – Josephine experienced both triumph and heartbreaking personal tragedy.
Fire Woman also provides a unique insight into the camaraderie that comes with risking your life on a daily basis and stands as the inspiring true story of an extraordinary young woman who took on a man’s world and won, becoming Britain’s first full-time female firefighter.
Using determination and inner strength to overcome prejudice, she proved that women could make great firefighters.
“Josephine Reynolds entered the male-dominated world of firefighting and proved to everyone that she was just as capable as them. Despite the often toxic culture, she overcame this to become a respected member of the team. Josephine paved the way for females in the fire service and should be justly proud of her achievements. This book is an excellent record of her fire service adventure and is a first-class read.” Duncan J White – Group Editor, MDM Publishing – Publishers of International Fire Fighter Magazine
Adventurous and free-spirited, Jo left a promising fire service career to join expeditions in South America and Southeast Asia, founded the Silk Road Design Co in China, and moved to the island of Koh Samui in 2006.
Exposed to huge inequalities around the world, Jo relocated to Cambodia to help a local NGO. Travelling on one of the first planes after Typhoon Haiyan hit, she spent a month in the Philippines writing articles, and as Nepal’s 2015 earthquake struck was commissioned to write for UN Women.
Jo published her memoir Fire Woman in 2017 and is regularly in the media championing her on-going campaigns. Honoured as a trailblazer and as one of the women changing history by BBC Radio 5’s #livefirsthundredwomen broadcasts, Jo is regularly called on to provide expert opinion for the BBC on events such as the catastrophic fire at Grenfell Tower in 2017.
Featured as one of the #visiblewikiwomen2020 and described as both a diversity role model and a ‘women to watch’ Jo is a truly inspirational speaker at everything from schools’ career days to international fire brigade conferences – challenging assumptions, engaging with audiences and changing cultural conventions.
For more information you can find Josephine at;