London Fire Brigade

Brigade women in engineering

23 June 2016

Today is National Women in Engineering Day and we’re putting the spotlight on two of our fire engineers who have blazed a trail in the industry across the UK fire and rescue service.

History of engineering

Since London Fire Brigade was established 150 years ago fire engineering has become a crucial element of fire prevention in the city’s built up environment. Our fire engineers play a key role in helping architects achieve their goals without compromising the safety of the public and firefighters.

Adreena-Parkin Coates and Lynsey Seal work for our  fire safety team as part of its fire engineering and transport (fire safety) groups. They have been involved with a number of  high profile fire engineering projects across the capital. 

Spectacular buildings like the Shard, the Gherkin and the Cheese Grater, as well as huge infrastructure projects such as Crossrail, all include built in fire safety features which our fire engineers like Adreena and Lynsey advise on.

Brigade’s first female engineer

Adreena was the first female fire engineer to work for the Brigade when she qualified in 1997. She  now heads up a team of five fire safety officers specialising in transport projects across the capital. Lynsey, who joined the Brigade in 2004, now also heads up a team of five engineers as joint Group Head of Fire Engineering.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

Adreena: “The diversity of the role. It presents interesting challenges on a day to day basis. I also feel like I’m making a real difference to people’s safety, by helping them move around London safely and making sure  our firefighters have access to the firefighting facilities they need.”

Lynsey: “Seeing some of the cutting edge projects that we are involved with from the design stage through to their appearance on the city’s skyline and knowing you have played a small part in that building’s construction is really satisfying. We also get to see a lot of innovative and bespoke designs – from heritage buildings through to state of the art developments.”

How did you get into the engineering profession?

Lynsey: “Through my school work experience program I arranged to do an apprenticeship at my mum’s engineering firm where I learned hands on skills such as milling, drilling and how to weld. I subsequently qualified as a mechanical engineer and went on to work in the oil and petro-chemical industry before deciding I wanted a career change and joined the Brigade to then retrain as a fire engineer.”

Adreena: “I originally joined the Brigade as a fire safety officer and after a while decided I wanted to set myself a new challenge and further my education. The opportunity arose to study for  a fire engineering degree which I jumped at..”
What advice do you have for women who might not have considered engineering as a career?

Adreena:  “It’s a really rewarding career and it gives you the chance to work on some amazing buildings. There are really good career opportunities as there is currently a huge shortage of engineers in the market place.”

Lynsey: “It helps if you have an analytical mind and are naturally curious and enjoy delving into details. It’s a fantastic career and fire engineering being a relatively new engineering discipline is evolving all the time. Our role also gives you the opportunity to be involved in some incredible projects.”

National Women in Engineering day

National Women in Engineering day is an international awareness campaign which aims to raise the profile of women in engineering and promote the career opportunities available to women in the industry.

Adreena and Lynsey are two of just 30 women registered as Chartered fire engineers worldwide.