Fired Up: My Experience at an all Female Firefighting Program

Right foot, left foot boots on. With a mere 50 seconds on the clock, I raced to get my gear on before the other girls. An overwhelming amount of adrenaline consumed me. We were moments away from coming face to face with a roaring fire. As we got closer the flames became bigger and brighter. A light I’d never seen before. 

 

During the summer of 2018, I participated in a week-long, live in, all-female firefighting program. I had never been so excited and intrigued by an event in my life. I felt so honored to be one of the selected girls for this program. CampBlaze was an experience like no other. I was surrounded by strong, kind and admirable women. With roughly 9% of all firefighters being female it was amazing to see such a tight-knit community from all over the U.S. During my time at the program we put out live fires, learned how to respond in the event of a mass causality, repelled down a 4 story building and ripping apart cars using our hand and specialized tools. 

You might think the hardest part about this program is the heavy gear or the searingly hot summer sun. But for me and a large majority of the girls, this program challenges our mental and physical abilities. For one of our activities, we went into an unknown building filled will household items and items that might be found in the event of a disaster. We were blindfolded and the building was completely dark. Not even the smallest bit of light shown through. We were required to lead our partner through the building while only our voices and a hose lead us to the “person” (a 90-pound dummy) we have to save. On the outside of the building people, screamed and banged against the walls making our voices sound like a mere whisper. We had to trust each other in a way that I have never trusted anyone.

The golden girls hugging eachother Giphy

 

Further along in the program, we experience live fire head-on. With a hose in our hands, we prepared to extinguish a hot and terrifying fire. We had to trust our partners. Both of us had each other’s lives in our hands. It was a type of trust I will never forget. Throughout this experience, I learned a lot about myself. How to push myself, how to be calm in stressful situations and how to be a badass. I initially thought that being a firefighter was the right path for me.

With the help and guidance of some of the women at CampBlaze, I found a career path in the field of Emergency Management and Public Health. It was a truly great experience and I am humbled by the knowledge and strength I have gained from it. CampBlaze only happens once every two years and I highly suggest it to anyone who has a passion for helping others. If you apply by March 31st, you may have the chance to experience the program of a lifetime. https://www.campblazefirecamp.org/campblaze