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Botetourt County’s Department of Fire and EMS hosts first “girls fire camp”

Published: Jun. 18, 2022 at 6:25 PM EDT
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BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Dozens made their way to Lord Botetourt High School Saturday morning for the first “Girls Fire Camp,” hosted by Botetourt County’s Department of Fire and EMS.

The young ladies from first to 12th grade across the Roanoke Valley were able to experience what it’s like to work as an emergency responder.

The Department of Fire and EMS wanted the event to inspire the girls and show them the many opportunities available in the public safety industry.

”It’s kind of exciting to see and very empowering for the kids to be like, we’ve done this and so you can too. It doesn’t have to be just a boys only thing, it’s for everyone,” said Laura Kate Jennings-Brink, a volunteer EMT at Read Mountain Fire and Rescue.

“I didn’t have that growing up. We didn’t have females can do this, it was always, like, that’s a male job, and stereotypes were always a thing, and now we’re in these times where you can break any stereotype and it’s pretty cool to see these kids come in and actually being a part of it,” said Kourtnie Orth, a firefighter/EMT with Troutville Volunteer Fire Department.

“I hope they take away that they can follow their dreams, and if this is something that they are interested in, that they can do it. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, that they are strong enough, brave enough and good enough,” said Melissa Ferguson, a flight paramedic with Carilion Clinic Life-Guard.

The camp also took the time to honor and remember Helen “Gracey” Humbert, who was a part of the department for more than a decade.

For more information, you can find the press release below:

“Get Fired Up! Botetourt County’s Department of Fire & EMS is excited to announce its first ever Girl’s Fire Camp. This event has been inspired by career and volunteer female firefighters of the department’s workforce. The fire service has the ever growing need for a diverse workforce and ladies, you can be part of this amazing profession!

This year’s inaugural camp takes place on June 18th, for rising 1st through 12th graders. This camp was established to inspire girls of all ages to see possible career opportunities in Fire & EMS. Through multiple age-appropriate modules, girls will be able to learn what Fire & EMS is all about.

The camp is being dedicated in the honor of late Fire & EMS Captain, Helen “Gracey” Humbert, who served within the department for over a decade. She was the essence of what a female can be in the fire service, so we will be sharing her story and honoring her legacy as part of this camp. Botetourt County Department of Fire & EMS would like to invite members of the local news media teams to join us from 8:15am-9:30am on June 18, 2022 at Lord Botetourt High School for the first portion of the camp where an all-woman engine crew will be completing a mock extrication procedure of a patient from a car. Carilion Life Guard is also anticipated to land depending on availability.

Funding for this opportunity was provided by a FEMA SAFER grant through the International Association of Fire Chief’s Volunteer Workforce Solutions program.”

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