Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service - Retained Firefighter, Speech and Language Therapist, Local Community First Responder, and mother of six.
In 2006 Karen became the first woman firefighter to be stationed at Nayland in rural Suffolk. She is a qualified driver of the appliance and a designated First Aider. Responding to her first shout (neighbour’s field on fire), her very proud 5-year-old son answering the telephone said, “My mummy’s a firefighter, she’s out fighting fires!”
I work for East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and am the South East regional representative (shared with Karen Beadle from West Sussex FRS). I am currently a Group Manager and work at Headquarters in the Protection Directorate as the Policy and Support Manager. I have been involved in NWFS for the last 10 years and before that I regularly attended the conferences organised at the Fire Service College and other Services.
I joined the Fire & Rescue Service in 1994, originally being posted to Eastbourne Fire station. Since then I have worked at various locations across the County in different roles. In 2002, I was promoted to Station Manager for Crowborough and Forest Row, and then transferred to Station manager for Wadhurst, Mayfield, Heathfield and Burwash in 2005.
I was appointed as the Borough Commander for Hastings in 2006 which was part of a new Borough Structure introduced in East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.
In 2008 my partner Mani and I adopted Scott (3) and Bethany (2) and took time away from work to spend with the children. (The children are now 6 and 7 and growing fast!)
In 2009 I returned to work as the Borough Commander for Eastbourne where I stayed for 3 years and have recently taken a move into Headquarters.I am also part of a Professional Women’s Group in East Sussex and am part of the local network called SWANS.
Away from work, I love being outdoors and spend many happy hours on the South Downs with my family and Springer Spaniel, Frankie. As a family we also spend quite a lot of time camping. I also play hockey for a local team and am a keen football fan. I also enjoy running and cycling.