- Arlene Wehr has become the first female to be appointed as Head of Operations within the Fire and Rescue Service
- Wehr left her office job in 1996 to become one of the first female firefighters
- Wehr has notched up numerous notable achievements, including being the recipient of a Lifetime Achiever Award from the City in 2016
Arlene Wehr has already enjoyed an amazing career with the Fire and Rescue Service, but has broken new ground recently.
The City of Cape Town firefighter has become the first female to be appointed as Head of Operations - District West.
Hailing from the suburb of Mitchells Plain on the notorious Cape Flats, it’s been a rapid rise for Wehr.
After leaving her office job in 1996, she became one of the first female fighters working for the City of Cape Town.
Wehr told the city’s media office that she faced a series of challenges in the male-dominated industry, but always had a passion to serve her community.
She said, “When I joined, I was one of the first females to do so. There were two others before me, and one had left by the time I joined. There were many challenges in what was then a male-dominated environment, but I managed to turn these into opportunities and I steadily worked my way through the ranks. It's been a long road, but it's one that can become a career. This is a calling and one for which you must have the passion and the heart. I enjoy serving the community and developing staff to improve service delivery. I hope my achievement will inspire other young women to join the service.”
Briefly.co.za noted the appointment caps off a series of stunning accolades for Wehr, which include:
• Receiving a Lifetime Achiever Award from the City in 2016 for groundbreaking gender equality work
• Being appointed to a two-year tenure as the Vice President of the South African Emergency Services Institute in 2019
• Planning and leading City delegations to numerous World Firefighter Games competitions and World Rescue Challenges
Her new position results in her overseeing eight different fire stations.
The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith, was full of praise for Wehr and hopes that her success will inspire other females to join the Fire and Rescue Service.
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