Heather Smart became the first female firefighter in Northern Ireland in 1991 and retired earlier in 2018. Smart will receive an MBE in the latest New Year’s honours. She reportedly paved the way for the now 62 women in the firefighting service in Northern Ireland. Interim chief fire officer Alan Walmsley said she was a “passionate advocate and ambassador” for other female members of the force. He said it was a “fitting recognition” for her services.