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

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora