Six women home guards have been appointed under the Fire and Rescue Services department for the first time in the history of Kerala. The six women namely - Pappathi K, K Jayalekshmi, Leela R, Sindu D K, Bindu R and Shelvi K are from the tribal settlement in Attapadi.
The recruitment came after the Kerala government announced a compulsory 30% reservation for women among home guards, attached to the Kerala Fire and Rescue Services Department.
According to Palakkad district fire officer Rtheej V K, about 100 tribal men and women lost jobs at Attappady Hill Area Development Society (AHADS) a few years ago. “The district administration here has been helping them find jobs in various other sectors to support their livelihood,” he says.
Soon after the government passed order on the 30% vacancies, the district administration invited applications from women who lost their jobs in AHADS.
For tribal women, the selection criteria was set with a physical test and education qualification of Class 10 (pass) and above. The physical test consisted of proving their physical fitness by completing a 100m run in 18 seconds and a 3km walk in 30 minutes, as part of the field-level tests that were held in February. The newly appointed six women were selected through this criteria.
“The rest of them will be appointed when new vacancies come. Considering the convenience of travel, we posted four of them at the Agali Police Station and two at the Sholayur Police Station. These stations are near their settlements,” said Rtheej.
The woman squad was then given a six-day training from March 1, which included basic first aid, various firefighting techniques as per the cause of the outbreak, personal development, traffic regulation etc, at the Fire Station in Mannarkad.
Though the home guards are appointed by the Fire and Rescue Services department, they are advised to perform services like traffic control and regulations, rescue services in national calamities including civil defense operations, as special police constables at the time of the election, patrol assistance and community policing.
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)