June 23, 2011
Portland Fire & Rescue's (PF&R) Fire Camp 2011 will draw in young women ages 16 to 19 from around the Portland metro area to learn the basics of firefighting. Close to three dozen female campers will participate this weekend in the third annual Fire Camp, part of a new effort to recruit more women to PF&R and firefighting as a career.
"We're providing this opportunity for young women to safely learn that they can be a firefighter. It's a very positive and encouraging environment," said Training & Safety Division Chief John Nohr.
The 3-day training camp was created and will be taught and supervised by female professional firefighters from Portland Fire & Rescue, Albany Fire Department, Medford Fire-Rescue, Camas Fire Department, Salem Fire Department, Clackamas County Fire District #1, and Gresham Fire & Emergency Services with the goals of instilling confidence, building leadership and team skills in young women, and providing an opportunity to try firefighting through hands-on training.
The camp will teach young women specific firefighting skills, including how to lower oneself from upper-story windows using a rope, how to take a hose, and how to climb an aerial ladder on a fire engine.
Campers will take part in practical, physical, and team-building exercise drills, familiarization of fire equipment, and equipment exercises. The campers will practice search-and-rescue skills with a dummy, use chain saws to cut through wood, and learn to work while wearing up to 100 pounds of gear.
Campers are responsible for only their travel expenses to and from the camp. Food, snacks, t-shirts, and water bottles are donated from various community members or businesses.
Irene Concepcion, a 12-year-veteran of Portland Fire & Rescue, said it's worth it. "It's not so much a fire camp as a fun, leadership and fire camp," Concepcion said. "More than giving them knowledge of the fire services, this is giving them the confidence to know that if they want to do something, they really can achieve it. Even if they don't become firefighters, they'll take that with them forever."
Further information about the camp can be found on PF&R's website at http://www.portlandonline.com/fire/firecamp.
Portland Fire & Rescue
We Respond: Always Ready, Always There
June 23, 2011