‘Women in fire’ exhibition launched as part of International Women’s Day

10 March 2022

A new exhibition has opened in the Winter Gardens showcasing portraits of female serving members of Yorkshire Fire and Rescue.

Yesterday, portrait photos of eight women currently working in the service were placed inside the Winter gardens as part the celebration of inspirational women within the south Yorkshire Fire Service.

The exhibition is linked to the year’s official women’s day theme of #breakthebias wherein the celebration of huge contributions made by the women is being commemorated.

Chief Fire Officer, Alex Johnson, is one of the women showcased in the exhibition. After joining the force 30 years ago, she knows first hand the obstacles faced by women in the force. She said “We weren’t seen as strong enough or brave enough, just employed as tokens to hit quotas. It has improved dramatically – we have far more women, the uniform has improved and there are much better facilities for women.”

As well as the chief fire officer, showcased alongside is other senior leaders, firefighters, control room operators and corporate staff members. The wide variety of women is a stand of hope for any women who has contemplated the force for any role. Alex Johnson also said:

“This exhibition has been designed to show that you can be a woman, and a firefighter, both at the same time. The staff featured in the portraits are living examples of that, if you’re a woman who has long considered applying for a career in the fire service, but you’ve never made the leap, we want you to check out our exhibition.”

One of the other women being showcased is twenty-one-year-old fire control operator, Paige Turton. She entered the force through a vacancy on the fire control team where she now answers emergency calls and mobilises firefighters wherever needed. She said “I joined in May 2021 and I’ve never looked back since. No two days are the same. There’s an element of excitement and adrenaline within every shift I do.”

There’s two images for each women aiming to capture two aspects of their life’s. One image showcases their working life and the other their life outside of it. All the photographs were taken by Orestes S Rix, a photographer who specialises in creative portraits, stunning landscapes, and unusual interiors.

The exhibition runs until Monday the 14th of March but it is also online for anyone to read and be inspired by. Through showcasing these amazing women the hope is more females will have the confidence to join the force and become a better individual.


“Every woman in those photos has done it, and so can you.” – Chief Fire Officer, Alex Johnson.




Written by Ellie Billingham

Trainee journalist studying at Sheffield University.

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