International Women's Day 2024 - meet Emma Robson-Parrott

CFO with Emma

A passion for helping others meant that being a Firefighter was the perfect job for Emma Robson-Parrott. 

The 36-year-old from Carlisle has just completed an intensive Apprentice Firefighter training course and is set to start work at Newton Aycliffe Station later this month.

Now, Emma wants to share her story to encourage other women to apply to join County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) this International Women’s Day (March 8).

“Don’t ever think gender is a barrier,” she said.

“I may not be the youngest, the fastest or the strongest, but if it’s what you want to do and you set your mind to it, you can achieve pretty much anything.” 

Before starting training with CDDFRS, last August, Emma spent eight years working as a ropes course trainer in Penrith.

But Emma’s love of keeping fit and making an impact in the community was a huge draw for her to join the Service. 

“I think it comes from a love of the outdoors and getting to meet new people and helping them,” she said. 

“My mum always said to me when I was younger, ‘Do something you enjoy rather than finding the job that pays the most because it’s all about being happy’ and that has stayed with me. 

“The fire service gives a balance between the fitness side of things that I am interested in, as well as being outdoors and working with different people.

“The skills of being a firefighter also fits with my background in terms of rope rescue and working at height, so it is a perfect job for me.” 

The new Firefighter was so determined to make her dream come true that she moved out of the home she shared with her wife to live with her mother-in-law in Morpeth to reduce her commute during training.

Emma’s personal sacrifice and hard work paid off when she was recognised with the Silver Axe - an award given to the best overall performing Apprentice Firefighter - at her passing out ceremony last month. 

Emma’s proud loved ones saw her receive the honour and demonstrate how to successfully fight a fire, cut a casualty out of a car, and perform a building rescue in full breathing apparatus.

“My mother-in-law was at the passing out parade and was in tears watching me win the award,” she said. 

“My mum is also very proud of me and travelled up from Birmingham. It was lovely to bring everybody together and celebrate the achievements of Chohort 7. 

“Cohort 7 are absolutely brilliant and I couldn’t have done it without them.”

As the Service looks to recruit Wholetime Firefighters, Emma will be helping at a recruitment event later this month, where she’ll share her experience with those looking to apply.

So, what is her advice to new recruits?

“Find the resilience you need to continue,” she said.

“When I just wanted to give up and quit because I had enough and felt I couldn’t do any more, you have to find that little bit extra and just push through.

“The feeling you get when you have done it is absolutely brilliant.” 

CDDFRS is currently recruiting for Wholetime Firefighters. To register your interest visit: