ROCKY HILL, Conn. (WTNH) — As women work to gain traction in industries across this nation, fire houses are one place that still has ways to go.
Nationwide, only four percent of firefighters are women, but one firefighter in Hartford is working to change that. From physical fitness to real life lessons, this future firefighter camp is unique because it’s for girls.
“When I see a woman especially on the apparatus, it’s a good feeling,” Lizbeth Serrano, 17 of Hartford.
In five weeks. these girls, ages 13 to 18, learn the ropes of public safety day one is here at Rocky Hill Fire Department’s training grounds
“I love what I do. I love my job. It’s the best job in the world,” Captain and Executive Officer Shelly Carter, Hartford Fire Department.
Shelly Carter was recently promoted to Captain and Executive Officer in Hartford.
She’s also the first black female firefighter promoted to captain in the state of Connecticut.
“It hasn’t been easy in a male dominated field. I’ve cried and I’ve been scared and afraid,” Carter says.
She runs this camp with help from volunteer instructors from departments across the state. The International Association of Fire Chiefs helps too, but most of what it takes to make this happen comes from her own pocket.
“No one told me at fourteen that I could be a firefighter, and I was like, ‘I need to tell people.'”
Her commitment to bringing more girls along on her journey seems to be working. In Hartford, women make up seventeen of nearly 350 firefighters.
After nearly 20 years with Hartford Fire Department, Carter says she’s on a mission to increase those numbers.
The camp isn’t only at the fire training facility. The girls will also spend time at the Emergency Operations Center understanding police and dispatch work. For more information on the camp, visit their website.
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