GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Greensboro Fire Department is giving girls a look into life in the fire service with Camp Spark.
What You Need to Know
Only 8% of United States firefighters are women, according to the National Fire Protection Agency
Greensboro Fire Department hosted its first fire camp for high school girls July 12-15
Students learned about fire service and important values, like self-confidence, respect and attitude
Women firefighters of GFD led students through the four-day intensive program
According to the National Fire Protection Agency, only 8% of firefighters in the United States are women. Camp Spark was a four-day intensive experience, lasting from July 12-15, for girls in grades 9 through 12.
The program works to instill confidence and respect, while giving the students experience in firefighter training. Some of Greensboro Fire Department’s women firefighters are leading the girls through the program. Senior firefighter, Brittany King, spearheaded the program.
“You never see somebody on a firetruck that looks like you, so you never think it’s a job that you could possibly do. The goal of this camp is to provide that representation for these girls,” King said.
Ten girls joined this year’s program, the first ever for the department. They took part in a search-and-rescue simulation, a maze, forcible entry exercise and climbed ladders. Seventeen-year-old Nevaeh Murphy has been considering becoming a firefighter, following in her father’s footsteps.
“My dad’s a firefighter, and his job seems very interesting. He’s always talking about things he experienced there, and I thought it would be fun to come try and see what he does at his work,” Murphy said.
Students also learned about the firefighters’ agilities test, also known as FFAT. They watched firefighters extinguish a live fire demonstration. They worked on team-building exercises at Greensboro Science Center’s SkyWild as well.
Captain Wendy Cheek, a 26-year veteran, said it’s important for girls and young women to see representation in male-dominated industries. When Cheek first applied, she didn’t know there were women working in the fire service. Now, she is the only woman captain in the department.
“I think a lot of girls don’t realize there is an opportunity here, and there’s opportunity in other male-dominated jobs, and we are exposing them to that this week too,” Cheek said.