As the UK's first firefighter to wear a hijab, Uroosa Arshid is considered a trailblazer to many since joining the Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2019. Having always wanted to become a firefighter since childhood, propelled by fond memories of the fire service visiting her class and watching classic cartoons such as "Fireman Sam."Arshid is now inspiring many by pursuing a profession in which not many women and not many Muslim women who don the hijab are in.
In retrospect, Arshid never thought that her hijab would make her stand out from her colleagues. While joining the Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service two years ago, she hoped that she'd be able to work alongside fellow hijabis, hence being able to serve while observing her Islamic faith and modesty. But, to her astonishment, she found herself being the first of her kind to join the fire service. From that point, she wasn't so sure if the hijab was considered an appropriate part of the standard firefighter uniform, but, with help from fellow colleagues, she managed to find a workaround that allowed it.
Currently, the fire service is working on a new product that is aimed to inspire many others to join the service. This is seen as crucial in encouraging diversity at the service, having learned from Arshid's past experience as a new recruit. In fact, Arshid is thrilled with the idea of seeing more women join the service in the near future, hoping that they would be able to reach great heights while achieving their dreams.
Speaking in an interview with Newark Advertiser, she said, ““I have had a lot of support from many people and different teams, and I am so grateful because none of this would have been possible without the backing of the service.
“In the future I would like to see so many more women in the fire service that you no longer feel like a minority. I want it to be so diverse that a stereotype isn’t possible. I want to see women realising their potential and pursuing their goals, whatever they may be.”