Utica, NY (WIBX) - The Phoenix all girls fire-fighting camp is off the ground in Utica for its 5th annual training session. It's the first female fire-fighting camp of its kind in North America, and it's being held at the Utica Fire Academy. Heading the training is Lieutenant Anna Schermerhorn-Collins, a 15-year Fire Fighter with the New York Fire Department. She says many of the participants are able to use their emergency management training in different fields.

Schermerhorn-Collins said, "We've seen a number of our alumni go on and join volunteer departments. We have several who are interested in applying to career departments as well. Some have become state EMT's and Paramedics. So, we've had a tremendous amount of success with these young women going on into emergency services fields." The week long training is modelled after standard fire-fighting academies, and involves climbing area ladders, stretching hose-lines, search and rescue operations, extinguishing propane fires, including water rescue and CPR Certification training.

"What we've done is we've taken a curriculum that you would find in many professional fire fighting academies and really whittled it down to give these young women a taste of different fire-fighting evolutions," Schermerhorn-Collins said. The trainees are only required to pay the $75 registration fee and all other expenses such as lodging and meals are provided by camp officials. The applicant has to be between the ages of 14 and 19 to take part in the camp and have personal medical insurance, however, no prior fire-fighting experience is necessary.

Roxanne Huchison from Tioga says the all girls camp makes it easier for her to learn about fire-fighting. She says she learned about the camp from her Fire Chief where she works as a Volunteer Fire Fighter. "I am learning about Fire Fighters and I'm building my confidence," she said. Hutchinson says she's more interested in a career as an Emergency Management Technician. "It's good to review all of what I've learned so far. It's amazing--since we're all girls, it's like we don't need to be pushed around, we're not criticized for being women--we are strong," she said.

The fire camp is put on every year in July by Fire Service Women of New York State, and applications are available on-line beginning in January. For more information contact the group at, www.fswnys.org or via email at phoenix@fswnys.org.

2011 Phoenix Fire Camp Recruits

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