Inspiring women to become firefighters, giving them a taste of the job

Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) hosted a weekend camp, hoping to inspire women to want t0 join the service and show them that they can.

The women had the chance to experience different aspects of the job at Camp Inspire, from fighting fires in a controlled environment, breaking down doors and repelling down a building.

“It surprised me how easy the hose can get away from you and how much you really have to force to keep it down and keep control of it,” said Emily Riddle, a camp participant.

“The excitement and the adrenaline that comes with being in that situation and trying to figure out how to control it, that it was quite an interesting situation.”

This is the second time the camp has been offered and 20 women had the chance to participate.

“This camp is really important, to provide access to what firefighting is as a career,” said Deputy Chief Tiffany Edgecombe, with EFRS. “We understand that it’s important to have a diverse membership representing our community and we’re absolutely encouraging women to consider firefighting as a career.

“Women can come without the fear of not being able to perform the physical tasks that are expected of a firefighter, we show them that they can absolutely perform those tasks and it’s just a very welcoming environment.”

There are other camps like this in Canada, but they mostly target younger potential recruits. One of the participants at this camp came all the way from Toronto for it.

“One of our leaders actually said she became a firefighter at 37 years old and I’m 29, so I felt like I was a bit behind but that just shows me I’m not,” said Andriana Jankolovski, a camp participant. “If I had the opportunity I would definitely come out here.”

“This is targeted, really, at that group that would be considering transitioning into an application process with fire, to give them that exposure, to help open the doors and identify whether or not this is something they’d like to pursue,” said Edgecombe.

EFRS is planning to continue hosting Camp inspire in the future.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Amanda Anderson