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'It's important to break down those barriers": Young women get hands-on firefighter training with Camp Molly

Through a free four-day camp, 30 young women will get the chance to learn about a career in fire services in the Township of Zorra this week.

Zorra’s Fire Chief Deanna Kirwin started as a volunteer firefighter and training officer. She eventually started taking on more teaching in fire services before being hired as chief.

“My passion to support and empower young women became even stronger working in a male-dominated field,” she said, explaining that there remains a low percentage of women in fire services.

“If we can provide mentoring opportunities and show women being supported by men and women, I think it's important and helps break down those barriers.”

From Thursday to Saturday, about 30 young women from ages 15-18 will learn about several aspects of firefighting and different career opportunities.

Participants will gain experience while rotating through a series of activities including forcible entry, fire prevention and investigations, search and rescue, auto extrication and more.

Nearly 100 volunteer firefighters will be assisting participants in this program, Kirwin said.

Inspired by her uncle who was a fire chief, 17-year-old Bryana Lauzon travelled from Windsor to pursue her passion in firefighting.

“I thought this would be a really good experience to learn more and have fun,” she said.

“This is the first time I heard about the fire training program for young people so I thought it would be a good opportunity to try something new,” said Martina Baker, whose uncle works as a volunteer firefighter in the fire hall she’s training in for the next few days.

“I hadn’t considered a career as a firefighter or paramedic before but it's definitely something I’m interested in,” she added.

The camp is named after Molly Williams who became the first female firefighter on record in North America.

“It’s my wish for all of these young women to become firefighters? That would be neat but truly I hope they leave here knowing that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to,” said Kirwin. Top Stories

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