News / USA

Teen Girls Learn Firefighting

Teen Girls Learn Firefightingi
X
July 30, 2013 10:59 PM
Most summer camps for teens revolve around sports, or music and arts, or just for having fun. But some girls in the Washington suburb of Arlington County, Virginia, went to camp to get a taste of what it's like to be a firefighter. VOA’s June Soh has more on a firefighting camp for girls only.
June Soh
Most summer camps for teens revolve around sports, or music and arts, or just for having fun. But some girls in the Washington suburb of Arlington County, Virginia, went to camp to get a taste of what it's like to be a firefighter.

This is not a typical summer camp. But Michelle Pawlaw is glad she signed up for it.

“Getting to experience the fires hands-on is really cool and something that most people don’t get to do," she said.

Michelle and eight other teenage girls are participating in the three-day camp offered by the Arlington County Fire Department located just outside of Washington.

Firefighter Clare Burley is in charge of the program.

“The purpose is to try to get young women interested in considering the fire service as a career," she said.

The free of charge, overnight camp is designed to let the girls experience what firefighters do in the line of duty to protect the community.  That includes some rigorous activities such as moving a fire victim.

“I didn’t think I could pull that 170-pound body [77 kg] with a friend, but I was actually able to do it," she said.

They take classes and learn how to climb the ladder on a fire truck, operate emergency tools and rescue an injured person. They also do their share of cleaning the firehouse and the equipment.

“Every week without fail on a Saturday, the job is to wash all the rigs and wash the floors. And we wanted the girls to see this is what we do. This is a typical day in a firehouse," she said.

Firefighting is still a male-dominated service, but Burley says with 22 women on its force of 320 the Arlington Fire Department is above the national average of 4.5 percent.  She joined the department seven years ago.

“We do everything that the guys do to the same standard. We are tested to the same standard. We are expected to operate at the same standard," she said.

“We need to wash the lettuce and put it in a green big bowl," said Lieutenant Robert Beer.

The girls help the crew on duty prepare for dinner. It is also part of the program.

“Because the kitchen is a very important part of a firefighter's life.  We work 24 hours together, seven days a week.  We cook here, we sleep here.  We usually have breakfast and dinner together. That's how we build camaraderie," said Beer.

Most of the girls say they had never thought about becoming a firefighter, but the camp was a great learning experience.

“I think it is definitely not a job that only men can do. Women can do it just as well as men can," said Michelle Pawlaw.

“I think I can help other people if they need help and know what to do in case I am at a fire myself," said Kayla Ehrlich.

“I think I could be a volunteer firefighter from this experience," said Monica Bartorsh.

And, the girls say, by spending three days together, they also made new friends and had a lot of fun.

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs