By Michael Turton
Tina Tobin has been a volunteer firefighter for 10 years with North Highlands Engine Co. No. 1 in Philipstown.
What are the challenges of being a firefighter?
Fires are physically demanding. Climbing a ladder is torture for me; I don’t like heights but I’m able to address my fear. You also deal with people in bad situations. I hate seeing people get hurt, but I enjoy helping them.
How do you manage having a family and being the company treasurer, a railroad supervisor and a Philipstown Ambulance Corps volunteer?
I function much better when my plate is overflowing. Sometimes it’s a little too full, but I get everything done. My kids are used to it and my husband, Chris, was the fire chief in Cold Spring. We’re all involved.
North Highlands has seven female firefighters. What is the dynamic between the men and women?
It’s good. Women are a big part of this firehouse. No one gets treated differently. Once you’re in your gear, gender doesn’t matter — as long as whoever you’re working with has your back.
How do you unwind after a serious house fire or traffic accident?
We decompress at the station. If it’s really bad, counseling is available. I go home, enjoy my kids, watch TV, play with my dogs and think of something happy.
A proposal in Albany would require all state laws to refer to firefighters instead of firemen. What do you think?
It’s ridiculous. Personally, you can call me anything you want. I get the job done just like anybody else. I’m not at all offended being called a fireman.