Meet The Firefighter: Tina Mailhot-Roberge
It’s International Women’s Day today! So on this special day we’d like to feature our one female firefighter…
? Joined BVFD:
? Main Role:
Firefighter, Elected Secretary
? Other responsibilities:
Tina is in charge of PR, social media, marketing, and everything that has to do with the department’s online presence (that’s right, that means she has to write about herself in the third person, how weird!)
? Firefighter certifications:
Tina is in the process of completing and acquiring all her Firefighter I, Firefighter II and Hazmat certification.
? When did she first know she wanted to become a firefighter:
To be honest, I never really dreamed of becoming a firefighter. I never was against the idea, but it wasn’t a specific goal of mine, ever. When my husband and I moved to Leesville in 2018, we noticed the recruiting banners the fire department had displayed around Belmont, so we went to the station to take a look. Before I knew it, we were both enrolled as volunteer firefighters. There are very few women in our fire department (at the moment I’m the only active female firefighter) so I thought it was important to have some female representation and diversity in the department. Can’t let the boys run the whole show, you know?
? Favorite part of being a Firefighter:
Connecting with the community and providing an essential service to those in need. I enjoy helping the department with fundraising, web and social media services, PR and making other improvements to the organization to make it more current, efficient and connected. I love tech and I love when things run smoothly! When doing firefighter work, I enjoy tackling grass fires the most as it enables me to help the community and the environment, all the while enjoying gorgeous Texan landscapes.
? Funny anecdote or “oh ho” moment:
Strength isn’t everything when you’re a firefighter. But it does help with some things… such as handling some equipment. For instance, starting our chainsaws requires good arms and a good grip. When I first joined the department, I was unable to start any of the chainsaws we use. I realized that “oh snap, I gotta get stronger!”… So I took up daily yoga, arm strengthening workouts and started running too… And I’m pleased to report that I succeeded in starting exactly ONE of the 3 chainsaws the department uses!
I’ve got good arms now, but my grip is still… Well my hands are very small, let’s just say that! And no amount of training will change that! That being said, being a firefighter is ALL about TEAMWORK. I know my team will be there to help if we need chainsaws started. We never work alone and we’ve all got our own set of strengths!
? Dark side of the job:
Taking the state tests for Firefighter I, II and Hazmat certification was BRUTAL. I’ve always been a good student, from elementary school to university. But no matter how hard I studied for these exams, the state still managed to come up with tricky questions so specific that I was on edge the whole time I was taking those tests. Thankfully I passed! Thank God!
? What would she tell new recruits before they join:
While we’re always looking for more recruits, I’d like to remind the ladies in our community that Belmont Volunteer Fire Department is open to ALL, and that we’d love more women to join! While fitness does help, it’s not necessary to be bulky and muscular to be a firefighter. We all have a unique skill set and we can bring something valuable to the table. Women are under-represented in firefighting and I truly believe that together, we can add value to the fire departments we join. So, ladies, join us! Don’t be scared, everyone in the fire department is amazing, respectful and kind. I can vouch for ‘em boys!
? Where does she see himself in 5-10 years:
I’m not sure where I’ll be in 5-10 years, let alone next year (you never know where life can take you!) but with all the experience I’ve acquired, I’d love to still be helping Belmont VFD and maybe even other fire departments around the state in some way, shape or form!
? Last words:
Fun fact: The area where my house stands is just outside (less than a mile) of Belmont VFD’s zone. So if there ever was to be a fire at my house, it wouldn’t be my fire department who’d be called to respond. How funny is that?!
Published on: March 8, 2022
Category: Meet The Firefighter