UK's first hijabi firefighter at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service says wearing a headscarf didn't stop her dream becoming a reality
The UK's first hijabi firefighter has said wearing a headscarf didn't stop her from achieving her dream.
Uroosa Arshid joined Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service two years ago after completing her training at Ollerton.
She said she had always wanted to be a firefighter since she was a little girl and a crew came to her school for a fire safety talk.
“Being who I am, it came with a variety of barriers," said Uroosa, who is stationed at West Bridgford. "Not only was I a woman and a person of faith, but I was also the first operational firefighter in the UK to wear a hijab.
“This was challenging because there wasn’t yet anything in place for me to practise my faith as well as carry out my role safely. I worked with various colleagues to research and find a solution for this, and we succeeded.
"But we are still working to create our own product that I hope will inspire other people with differences to come forward and take the challenge on in their own way.
“I believe most religions are rooted around peace, kindness and working together, which are very similar to the values of Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service. This link needs to be celebrated and utilised to build better relationships in the community.
“I have had a lot of support from many people and different teams, and I am so grateful because none of this would have been possible without the backing of the service.
“In the future I would like to see so many more women in the fire service that you no longer feel like a minority. I want it to be so diverse that a stereotype isn’t possible. I want to see women realising their potential and pursuing their goals, whatever they may be.
“If I was to give any piece of advice to another hijabi wanting to become a firefighter, it would be that it IS possible to save lives and maintain your modesty all in one. If it is truly your goal you will find a way to make it work.
“In Islam we are told that ‘Saving the life of one, is as though you have saved the whole of humanity,’ (Quran 5:32) and, in my opinion, there aren’t many better ways of doing that than becoming a firefighter.”