Knoxville camp gives girls the tools to become firefighters

Carrie Hulsey # State

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Women make up only a small fraction of firefighters in the United States, but a camp here in East Tennessee hopes to change that. The Rural/Metro Fire Department had their third annual girls' fire camp.

“It’s basically a camp for young women to come out and see if they’re interested in the fire service; to see what it’s all about,”
Brooke Bratta, instructor for the camp, said.

“Here we do everything that a guy does. We get through it just as well as they do,”
a camp participant told Local 8 News.

The two-day camp was open to women ages 14-25 years old and provided a hands-on experience in both fire and EMS training.

“If you did want to become a full time firefighter in this field you’ve got to have EMS and you have to have fire. So we want to show them you’ve got to do both, but it’s all exciting,”
Bratta commented.

The girls participated in many drills including putting out multiple fires and performing CPR in a moving ambulance. The purpose of the event was not only to expose young women to the career of firefighting, but also to build self-confidence.

“We want them to come out here and do these skills and learn so they can know that ‘I can do this, I’m able to do this,’ and to not be intimidated,”
said Bratta.

“A lot of people are like, ‘You’re a female. You can’t do this,’ when I’m here to show them that I can,”
one camp participant said.

“I think it’s a really good thing that women are getting out there and making themselves just as strong as the men,”
another participant noted.

The yearly camp was established to be free and open to the public. For more information, email girlsfirecamprmfd@gmail.com.