AN ORPINGTON firefighter has been confirmed as the highest-ranking woman in the service after being appointed to a new post.

Dany Cotton has been appointed as assistant commissioner of London Fire Brigade, making her London’s top ranked operational woman firefighter.

Ms Cotton, who became a fully qualified firefighter in 1988, was the first woman firefighter to be appointed an area manager in 2007, and was the first to be awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal in 2004.

She said: “People’s attitude to women serving as firefighters has improved out of all recognition. When I joined there were very few women in the service and now we have over 300 women firefighters in London alone.”

"Whether you are a man or a woman, if you like the idea of something different and worthwhile, firefighting is a job for you.

"It can be physical, but you’ll also spend a considerable amount of time working with and helping people and there can be no better reward.”