Firefighter juggles career, motherhood

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Monday, March 17, 2014


“MY being a woman does not hinder me from doing a risky job,” said Senior Insp. Fritzie Manatad, a firefighter for 15 years.

The difficult training she underwent did not stop her from making a career out of firefighting and excelling in it.

Manatad, whose husband is a policeman, is also a mother of three, and sometimes finds herself juggling career and motherhood.

“If you love what you’re doing, you will overcome the difficulties along the way,” Manatad said.

To trainee Emylla Phoebe Sutiverio, 23, Manatad is an inspiration.

Sutiverio is scheduled to undergo extensive firefighting training in Calamba, Laguna next month.

Manatad, who is assigned at the Carcar Fire Station, encouraged women who want to be firefighters to pursue their dreams, saying saving lives is a great achievement.

Manatad did not dream of becoming a firefighter after graduating from the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) 15 years ago.

“I just tried it, and I found out that I like it,” the firefighter from San Fernando, Cebu said.

Manatad, whose husband is a policeman, is also a mother of three.

Insp. Arra Alpaharo, assigned at the Consolacion Fire Station, said women gain more respect if they do a man’s job.

“People expect firefighters to be men only. Pero kaya din yan ng babae (But women can do it too),” she said.

Alpaharo said the hardest part of her training 11 years ago was the longing for her family.

“Kaya naman yung training, pinakamahirap lang yung mawalay ka sa family mo because of the training (One can easily survive the training. It’s being away from one’s family that’s the most difficult),” said Alpaharo.

Out of 1,227 BFP 7 personnel, 188 are female, including 15 female officials, among them BFP 7 Director Maria Luisa Hadjula.

The lack of firefighters in the region is still a concern in the BFP 7.

Alpaharo, who is also the chief of the BFP 7 fire safety enforcement section, said one has to be a graduate of a four-year-course to be accepted for training.

The required height for men is 5’4” while it’s 5’2” for women.

Before training, the applicant must undergo neuropsychiatric and drug tests.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 18, 2014.

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