The first Indian woman to join the fire service department, she began her stint as Divisional Fire Officer for 6 years in Chennai, with over 400 fire and rescue calls to her credit. Working shoulder to shoulder with men in difficult terrains, massive fires,risky buildings, and natural disasters, Meenakshi was soon recognised for her successful rescue operations.
She was honoured with the President’s Fire Service Medal for Gallantry in 2013, and the Anna Medal by the Government of Tamil Nadu in 2017, the foremost among many more merits she has earned.She continues to inspire youth by training more than 30 batches of fire officers across the country and delivering motivational talks among young women.
Meenakshi has also left her mark in the sporting world of the Fire Department, claiming gold in shot put at the World Fire Fighters Games in South Korea and in tennis in Australia and many more similar events, becoming the first woman fire officer to win medals for India. Meenakshi’s daring attitude and dedication to her country make us proud to salute her with the JFW Award for Excellence in Public Service.
Meenakshi Vijaykumar was also involved in rescue operations during the 2015 Chennai flood. Allocated to Global Hospital rescue operation she was face to face with hundreds of patients struggling for life, from babies to people breathing their last breath, patients from ICU. She slept in her jeep for 10 days. “It was a horrendous experience when I look back. I thank god to have given me the strength to save so many lives then.” she says.
“My most memorable incident something that I can never forget was when I rescued a mother and her son from a collapsed building after six hours of rescue operation. It was one among my significant rescues and I was awarded the president’s medal of Gallantry for this effort” Meenakshi Vijaykumar