The Oakland Fire Department hosted a firefighting camp, the first of its kind in Oakland, in partnership with NorCal First Alarm Girls Fire Camp in September. More than 60 teens signed up for the weekend camp and learned how to use a fire hose, break into a door in an emergency, and use a power saw, among other hands-on activities. All of the camp’s participants were girls, female-identifying, and non-binary teens from the region.
It was the first time that Oakland’s Fire Department hosted a training with the organization, which rotates locations. This specific camp was for 14-17 year-olds. On November 5 and 6, the Oakland Fire Department will host a training for college students, in partnership with Golden State Women in Fire the Service.
“Growing up, I didn’t know I could be a firefighter,” said Candice Koshman, who has been in the Oakland Fire Department since 2008. “I never saw another female firefighter. These kids come, and they get to see women who look like them.”
Nationally, women make up only four percent of field engineers, the firefighters who go and put out fires and respond to other emergencies, although other jobs in the fire department as a whole have more women.
NorCal First Alarm hopes to encourage and build a pipeline for young girls who want to enter the field. Some young girls and women may not think to become a firefighter because they had never encountered one. Others are the solo female firefighter in their departments. Oakland’s fire department is likely one of the more diverse ones in the region, with 21 female or non-binary firefighters in the department.
For more information about NorCal First Alarm Girls Fire Camp, visit their website. To learn more about Town Firefighters, visit their Facebook or Instagram pages.
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