Name: Nakita Ross
Job Role: Leading Firefighter
What advice would she give her younger self?
Listen to your gut instinct. It’s there for a reason. Don’t apologise for being you. Don’t let someone rebrand your positive traits with negative words and don’t let people change you, believe in yourself and keep pushing.
Describe yourself in 3 words – Passionate, fierce and loyal.
Favourite Penguin – Emperor
Nakita’s Story (In her own words)
This time last year was a complete rollercoaster. Having attended the Women in the Fire Service Training and Development Event the year previously to teach Urban Search and Rescue input, I had actually broken down in floods of tears in front of over1000 people.
I was mortified. This happened whilst our Commissioner at the time, Dany Cotton, spoke about the after effects of attending recent high-profile jobs including her own struggles.
Following that I started the process of talking to someone about what I had been through and was diagnosed with PTSD.
I was determined to give myself the chance I deserved and working with my trauma specialist, I started to make positive steps towards tackling my PTSD.
The next WFS Event was going to be bigger and better than the previous year! I had been working hard with USAR Team member and dog handler, Jim Gilbert to create an exercise for candidates to get a close insight into the world of USAR. Then a letter came that would turn everything upside down. It told me that my latest cervical screening had shown abnormal results. I have always been religious with my screenings and never missed one. It came as a complete shock. But I knew this was nothing to worry about, the slightest changes get picked up on and assessed. This was 2 days before the WFS event.
I went to my appointment and the NHS staff were amazing. Unfortunately, they found a lump and removed it there and then. I was in a lot of pain. I was told it wouldn’t last long and should be ok to move around the following day. But then that dark part of my mind started to creep back in; the doubt, the negativity and the fear. What happens if it is cancer? What happens if you need more removed? What if…what if…. what if!
But that was just it, they were “ifs”. There was nothing I could do to change whatever the outcome was and no point worrying about something that might never be. I had the WFS event to look forward to and I was now even more determined to make it. How lucky I was that I did because it was that weekend that sparked the start of the Antarctic Fire Angels journey.
Sophie Montague from the Army’s Ice Maiden team was the keynote speaker. I was in quite a bit of pain and extremely uncomfortable but I was hooked. “We wanted to show women what women are capable of”, this statement was so inspiring! Her passion was infectious. Later that evening I saw Georgina. I had made friends with George the previous year after she attended my USAR workshop. We had instantly hit it off. It seems we both had the same idea.
I said to her “I want to go to the Antarctic and take a team of female firefighters, interested?”. Her response was “I was thinking exactly the same thing!”. The rest, as they say, is history. Or should I say we are on our way to make history all thanks to one team of women inspiring others.
And don’t worry; I had positive news from my biopsy. I caught it extremely early and now will have regular checks to keep on top of any changes. So please go for your screening and support the women in your life to attend theirs. It saved my life and has given me this amazing opportunity to be part of this inspiring group of women.
Ordinary women doing extraordinary things.
Nakita is founder of the Antarctic Fire Angels & Team Leader of the London team known as LAFA. She became a firefighter at the age of 20 & has since become London's first female Urban Search & Rescue instructor...
From playing international sport to working in typically male dominated environments Bex knows no boundaries when it comes to...
Alison went into the Banking industry when she left school and decided to apply to be a firefighter when her brother came home with...