During the one-day camp, the teenage participants learned about the recruitment process and the Explorer program; watched a roof operations demonstration; threw on firefighters’ personal protective equipment; and tried their hand at knocking down an orange cone with a firehose. Photos by Nicole Mooradian.
by Nicole Mooradian
With 57 teenage girls in attendance, the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s third Girls Fire Camp was the most popular yet.
The day-long camp is designed to expose young women to future careers in firefighting, as well as encourage participants to join the Fire Department’s Explorer program.
“(The camp) was definitely highly successful,” said Fire Fighter Specialist Kelly Abadie, one of the camp’s organizers. “A lot of the parents called or wrote an email to say how … their daughters were still talking about it.”
Under the supervision of 11 female firefighters—and with the help of four female Explorers—participants learned about the recruitment process and the Explorer program; watched a roof operations demonstration; threw on firefighters’ personal protective equipment; and tried their hand at knocking down an orange cone with a fire hose.
“Seeing these young women demonstrate so much interest in our career was inspiring for us,” said Fire Fighter Paramedic Sara Rathbun. “It was a rewarding opportunity to share our passion for a career that many of us never considered ourselves until we saw another woman doing it.”
Fire camps such as this one have been picking up steam in recent years, according to Abadie. In addition to the LACoFD’s two previous fire camps, the Los Angeles City Fire Department has also held a two-day camp.
“It seems definitely to be a big movement throughout the state,” Abadie said, noting that these camps were also being considered at the state level. “This is an opportunity for (girls) to be able to pursue this career and learn early on what the requirements are that they will need to achieve by the time they’re ready to start going through the testing process.”
It’s too soon to tell whether the girls in the most recent camp will take the next step and become Explorers, but Abadie believes at least a few of them will.
“This group seemed to be very interested in that they wanted to follow this career,” Abadie said. “It’s a positive movement in the right direction.”
Special thanks to the following personnel for their assistance:
- Fire Captain Jessica Post
- Fire Captain Jasmine Segura
- Fire Fighter Specialist Kelly Abadie
- Fire Fighter Specialist Brenda Simonian
- Fire Fighter Specialist Clarissa Leos
- Fire Fighter Specialist Leigh-Anne Orr
- Fire Fighter Tracy Sizemore
- Fire Fighter Alexis Kendricks
- Fire Fighter Katherine Whitby
- Fire Fighter Paramedic Erin Regan
- Fire Fighter Paramedic Sara Rathbun
- Fire Prevention Engineering Assistant I Evelyn Ochoa