By Dariya Baiguzhiyeva 
QUINTE WEST – Quinte West is welcoming its first full-time female firefighter.
Sarah Scott, a 22- year old Quinte West native, has been volunteering with two Quinte West’s fire stations  since 2012 and will officially start her job on April 17.
“It’s been something that I’ve been working towards for for five years now,” said Scott. “I was always hoping that I would be the first one, even if I wasn’t, I would still be honoured to be a part of their service.”
Scott knew that she didn’t want a “desk job” since graduating from high school. After her first year at university, Scott started volunteering with Station 6 in Wooler.
“I absolutely love the work that I do. There’s nothing better than knowing that you make a difference by responding to those calls and helping people in their time of need.”
Scott graduated from Trent University with a degree in arts and philosophy. She said having a degree was a valuable asset for her in getting a job and also gave her time to mature.
“Having a degree really puts you ahead of competition in the interviewing process,” Scott said. “It scores a lot of points to have a degree.”
“Even though I didn’t necessarily need a degree, I was super young, I was 17 when I started university. I needed a few years to mature and grow as a person to be able to handle firefighting as a career.”
Scott is now doing a pre- service firefighting at Durham College and is currently volunteering at Station 2.
“I love working in that team environment. It’s great. They’re like my family,” Scott said. “They have been so supportive of me, wanting to become a full-time firefighter.”
Scott said she realized the challenges that lie ahead of her.
“Having to prove myself will definitely be a huge challenge. I’ve gone through it twice at two different halls, having to prove myself as a competent individual, because when you’re a girl, they sometimes think you’re not strong enough to do everything what they do because they’re men,” Scott said. “But I’m definitely looking forward to having put me through my paces and proving myself.”
Scott recalled an experience from a couple of years ago, during her first structure fire at her neighbour’s house.
“Seeing somebody who I know personally lose all their belongings was very… I was a little bit emotional. but that just makes me want to do the job more. I want to help out, I want to make that day as easy as possible. That was probably of the biggest challenges.”
Fire Chief John Whelan said that they are “very pleased” with Scott being the successful candidate.
“She has been a volunteer with us for four years and is on our Combat Challenge team. She is very well educated and will be a great asset to our fire service.”