On November 11, the New South Wales fire chief declared it could be “the most dangerous bushfire this nation has ever seen.”
“I had to be there to help my community,” Kat told 10 daily, an Australian news publication. “I couldn’t watch my country go up in flames. It wasn’t an option.”
Kat first caught daily 10’s attention with an impassioned Instagram post about why she was choosing to fight the fires. “Yes I am female,” Kat captioned a fire truck selfie. She’s smirking at the camera, with an emergency radio peeking out from her bright yellow uniform. “Yes, I am pregnant. Yes, I am going to the fires. And yes, I’ll be alright.”
Kat is actually an experienced firefighter. She told daily 10 she started training at 12-years-old, the youngest you’re allowed and then started volunteering at 13. Kat grew up with firefighters in her family, including her parents, grandma, uncle and brother; and now her husband and brother-in-law. “My mum has been in it for years, my dad has been doing it for years. I’ve loved it and I’ve never stopped and I don’t think I ever will,” she said. And pregnancy and fighting fires must run in their genes—Kat’s mother was pregnant with her while fighting fires in 1995.
Kat’s top priority is to defend her community. “If my home goes, it can be replaced,” she told daily 10. “Homes can be rebuilt, people can’t be. We’ve already lost too many people to these fires. I’m going to be there for my community as long as I’m able to.” Three people have died and over 170 homes have been destroyed since the fires began on Friday, November 8.
In an interview with NBC, Kat said her doctor gave her the okay to keep fighting fires, as long as she wears the correct gear, particularly a mask to prevent smoke inhalation. “I’m not the first pregnant firefighter and I guarantee you I’m not the last,” she said.
As long as she’s safe, we applaud Kat’s bravery and commitment to keeping her community safe. Her baby is already following in her family’s heroic footsteps. Kat posted a picture of her 13-week ultrasound to Instagram with the caption, “Safe to say you were fighting fires before you were born. 🔥🔥👩🏻🚒👨🏻🚒”