DELTA - With International Women's Day coming up next week, the Delta Fire Department is celebrating a first.
Firefighter Madeleine Lamphier recently became the department's first female officer.
"For us it's an exciting time," said Chief Dan Copeland.
The department's officers supervise a hall or an apparatus, make sure everyone is doing what they're supposed to and can be tasked with being an incident commander.
Lamphier, who lives in Tsawwassen with her husband, fellow firefighter Kelly Olson, and the couple's two daughters, Anneli and Lucy, started her firefighting career in Delta in 2001.
Firefighting, however, wasn't initially on her radar when she was thinking of her future, she said.
"I always knew that I wanted to do something physical," Lamphier said, adding she knew she wanted to be a part of something "bigger than myself."
Lamphier said she only started to consider a career as a firefighter after meeting a female forestry firefighter "who was about half my size."
Firefighting is a male dominated profession - Lamphier is one of only two females in Delta's fire department, which includes a complement of 165 members - but she said being a woman has never been an issue.
And having grown up as the only girl in the neighbourhood, she was used to it at an early age.
Lamphier, who is one of the department's peer fitness trainers, said she might approach a situation differently than one of her larger, male counterparts but she is just as able to tackle any challenge on the job.
Battalion chief Ken Johnson, who has been with Delta Fire Department for more than 30 years, praised Lamphier's work ethic.
"She's the first one in and the last one out," he said, adding she passed the officer training program with flying colours.
Johnson said when looking at firefighters he bases his assessment on whether he would feel comfortable charging through the front door of a burning building with them, and, without hesitation, he said he would follow Lamphier into any blaze.
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