The fire department within the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force has been around for more than a decade, and finally a female has joined their ranks.
Police Constable Cathy Haomae is tall and her physique suitable to the heavy work needed by a fire man or woman.
It has been a challenge for PC Haomae as it is also a new experience for her men colleagues to have a female amongst them.
But the RSIPF is changing its face with new recruits now at 50-percent female. And this is inevitable for Solomon Islands with a female to male ratio in absolute favour of the female gender. It is estimated that there is a 1 male to 10 female ratio.
So are there any allowances made for her as a female? No, she says, “I have to work as hard as the men and also be ready to face whatever comes our way.”
The training needed to be a fire man or woman is different as it is difficult, but this has not stopped her from persevering. And it has paid off for PC Haomae, she is a fire officer today and proud to be one.
The Fire Department has recently opened an international standard fire station at the Central Police Station compound. This brings with it the need for training and properly equipping the department.
The fire department is the least understood department of the RSIPF, as most of Solomon Islanders do not fully grasp the importance of the fire department to protect the community.
But this is slowly changing, and there is now more of an emphasis on developing the fire department to match what is needed by the public.
And PC Cathy Haomae is part of this growth and rebirth of the fire department.