Young women interested in firefighting as a career got a chance to be over the weekend during Edmonton Fire Rescue Service’s Camp Inspire.
The second iteration of Camp Inspire took place at the Fire Fighting Training Centre in west Edmonton, with 22 participants. Activities included rappelling down the side of a building, a live fire exercise where participants suited up in firefighting gear to put out a fire inside a building, and a search and rescue simulation.
Tiffany Edgecombe, deputy fire chief of training and logistics, said the camp is important because it provides access to what a firefighting career would be like.
“We understand that it’s important to have a diverse membership representing our community,” Edgecombe said.
“We’re absolutely encouraging women to consider firefighting as a career as we are all members of our community and this is a really nice inclusive experience where women can come without the fear of not being able to perform the physical tasks that are expected of a firefighter, we show them that they can absolutely perform these tasks. And it’s just a very welcoming environment to come and participate with like-minded individuals who are curious about the career option.”
Andrina Jankulobski travelled from Toronto to participate in the camp.
“It has been the most amazing experience ever,” she said. “Meeting new people, hearing their stories, getting to actually experience being a firefighter is just so amazing.”
She said during the COVID-19 pandemic she was laid off from her communications job and has been thinking about becoming a firefighter for a long time. She has since been focused on getting mentally and physically prepared. She said the camp challenged her and provided her with hands-on experience.
“There were different activities that we had to do,” she said. “Just slamming through a wall and just putting yourself through it. I didn’t think I was able to do those things and I did.”
Tyana Lafleche said participating in the camp has also pushed her out of her comfort zone.
“Normally, I’m not used to being in a situation where there’s so little space that you’re able to move in, especially when it comes to having the tank on,” she said. “I think the tank was the hardest part during the confined spaces.”
Lafleche said Camp Inspire shows that a firefighting career is not just for men.
“Women can do anything that men are capable of doing. It’s all about our strengths and the way we carry ourselves,” she said.