Program aims to boost number of female firefighters
Published Tuesday, July 29, 2014 1:38PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 29, 2014 6:12PM EDT
With only about nine females among London’s 360 firefighters, a new camp is encouraging more girls to consider the career.
Twenty young women from the London area have been selected to take part in Female Firefighers in Training (FFIT).
The week-long program is being offered jointly by the London Fire Department and Area Recreational Services.
The camp includes extrications and recovering “bodies” from a smoky room.
“Females have not traditionally applied to firefighting. We’re just trying to encourage more to start thinking about it at an early age,” says Brian George, a deputy fire chief.
Allison Vickerd, a London firefighter with 13 years of experience who is heading up the program for the department, said the camp is worthwhile even if the girls decide on another profession.
“Throughout the week we build their self-confidence. We teach them about the equipment. And in the end, whether they choose firefighting or not, they have an increase in self-worth.”
Melissa Culbertson’s father and grandfather were both firefighters and she’s determined to be one, too.
She realizes it won’t be easy.
“A lot of perseverance and knowing what I’ve got to do to make it. I’m very motivated to become a London firefighter.”
There were nearly 50 applicants for the 20-spot program.