‘I Keep Up Pretty Well’: Why One Future Firefighter Wants More Women To Join Her

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1998 only 2.5 percent of firefighters were women. Fast forward to 2016, and it’s just 3.5 percent.

By Courtney CollinsApril 5, 2017 9:30 am, ,

From KERA News

In her first week of fire academy at Tarrant County College, Alexis Dunn had to run up and down stairs in full gear. That’s boots, fireproof pants and jacket, heavy gloves, a helmet and an oxygen tank—all while hoisting a 45-pound hose. And the drill didn’t end there.

“Then you had to carry a 135-pound dummy, which I didn’t even know that existed until I came here,” she laughs.

Into The Unknown

On this particular day, she’s leading a team of three other fire academy students on a search and rescue mission into a dark, two-story building. The inside of their face masks are plastered with wax paper– so they can’t see a thing.

Dunn guides them through the house as they crawl around the perimeter, feeling for gaps under furniture where kids or a pet could hide during an actual fire.

She’s about two-thirds of the way through this training program and is excited to join up with a local fire crew. Dunn says after playing college softball at the University of Houston, she knew she needed a job that wasn’t a typical 9 to 5 office gig. She wanted to be physically active, she wanted a challenge, she wanted teammates.

“I can’t wait to just go to a station and work,” she says. “Just being able to love what I do every day, it’s going to be something different every day.”

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