“I am a firefighter, not a firewoman,” is how Inspector Beverly May P. Grimaldo, 25, the Station Commander of the San Lazaro Fire Station introduces herself.
With that kind of introduction, Inspector Grimaldo dismisses right away the notion that she is just another pretty face in the workplace.
Not that the distaff side is a common sight at fire stations. In fact, we rarely find women in this job. So why did she choose this job?
Grimaldo’s determination probably comes from her upbringing in Marinduque as a policeman’s daughter. In fact she wanted to be a policeman at first but had to settle for a “less risky” job.
Encouraged by her father, she took the exams at the Philippine National Police Academy, graduated, and immediately assumed the position of Commander.
“Pinili ko yung Bureau of Fire Protection dahil mas nakikita ko sa akin na mas bagay ako dun. I felt I should be practical. In the future when I do decide to have a family, I can have enough time for a family,” mused Grimaldo.
So there’s still a female inside this gritty firefighter. And that doesn’t go unnoticed with her peers nor the community she works at.
In fact, it was not difficult to find Grimaldo after this photographer showed a picture of her to other units in Manila. They immediately pointed to the Commander of the San Lazaro Fire Station.
“There are some who make some moves, but I try to take it lightly,” cited Grimaldo in jest.
In the field, Grimaldo wears a biker’s mask underneath her helmet to make her look more gritty. Sans the helmet when she’s doing community work which is part of her job, she really makes heads turn. But she has also managed to turn this asset into something productive in the force.
“Kasi yung mga babaeng firefighters approachable. May mga babaeng biktima na nag-aalinlangan, lumalapit sila sa kapwa nila babae. Because they know that we know how they feel,” explained Grimaldo.
Now YOU tell us if, in the middle of a fire, this woman yells out a direction and you won’t follow.
Story and photos by Jonathan Cellona for ABS-CBNnews.com