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All Girls Fire Academy Gear Up For Week Long Training

Jeanette Lenoir, WIBX

Utica, NY (WIBX) - An all girls fire-fighting academy welcomed 24 new Campers this year. The girls range between 15 and 19-years old, and come from across the state, including Pennsylvania and Canada, to learn what it takes to be a firefighter.

Camp Director, FDNY Lt. Anna Schrimerhorne-Collins says it’s important to have diversity in the fire service. “It’s tremendously important because the communities that we serve are very diverse and I’m a big proponent of diversity in the fire service. Women just like men can do this job very well …we’ve been doing it for a number of years,” she said.

Phoenix Firecamp is in its 6th year. The free training is possible thanks to volunteers who run the program, and support from the Utica Fire Department and other local fire departments. This year, 24 Campers are aiming to graduate the program. Tess Glennon made her way to the training in Utica from Philadelphia, PA. When asked what she looks forward to the most, the 17-year-old said, “Going into the fire I think …I want to see what that’s like and see if like I’m going to be scared or not, and that’ll determine if I really want to do this job or not.”

Lt. Schrimerhorne-Collins said, “Each individual who’s interested in serving their community has something to offer–whether you’re male or female. It’s a terrific opportunity, but the reality is that there are not that many women doing it, so we want to show these young gals that: Yes, you’re interested, there are women doing it, we’re doing it, we love doing it, we do it well and you can do it too.” Schrimerhorne-Collins says the girls walk away with a certificate in CPR training, friendship, mentorship and firefighting skills. Phoenix Firecamp is the first program of its kind in the Northeastern part of the U.S.

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