When Sammy Preddy tells people what she does for a job, they generally raise their eyebrows.
She looks so unlikely to work in her chosen career, she even had comedian Russell Howard stumped when she appeared on his Good News show in the Mystery Guest section.
The star had to guess what she did from the props around her, but struggled to correctly identify the 22-year-old as a firefighter.
Sammy, from Marton, became the youngest female firefighter in the country when she signed up for the fire service at the age of 18 back in 2010.
She worked in Preston initially, but is now based at Blackpool’s Forest Gate Fire Station.
She said: “I’ve always been quite physical, I represented Great Britain in running and swimming. I was working in an office and just felt like I wanted something more.
“My dad was a firefighter and I used to like to hear all the stories when I was little.
“So I decided to go for it and applied. I didn’t really think I would get in to be honest.
“But at each stage in the recruitment process I got through.”
Sammy has not looked back since starting in the role four-and-a-half years ago.
“I love it, I really enjoy it. Every day is different and when you go into work you never really know what it’s going to hold.
“The work is so varied, obviously there are call-outs and incidents we attend, but we also carry out checks in the community, go into schools and give talks, fit free smoke detectors and so on.
“We get to meet lots of nice people.
“And we work together so closely as a team, we are like friends and family.
“Obviously it can be an emotional job at times, and there is a lot of teamwork involved. There’s a lot of banter, but the guys I work with just treat me the same as anyone else. Which is how it should be. As a woman you have to work on your strength and fitness and go to the gym, but that’s the same for everyone, including the guys.
“There’s no reason a woman can’t become a firefighter. There’s nothing to stop anyone, as long as they meet the requirements.
“I think perhaps women don’t think about it as much as it’s been seen as a male career, but it’s open to all.”
Sammy admits people are taken aback when they realise what she does for a living.
“I’m quite a girlie girl. I like make-up, nice hair, wearing dresses and heels, which is quite different from what I do for a job.
“When I am out at a fire in my gear and then take my helmet off, people sometimes look and say ‘ooh, it’s a girl’.
“Or if I tell people I meet out and about what I do for a living, they don’t believe me!
“But I love it, it’s the career for me and I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”