Rescue services

Edmonton Fire Services Camp Inspire encourages women to become firefighters

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Young women interested in a career in firefighting had the chance to experience it over the weekend at the Edmonton Fire Rescue Service’s Camp Inspire.

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The second version of Camp Inspire was held at the Fire Fighting Training Center in West Edmonton, with 22 participants. Activities included rappelling down the side of a building, a live-fire exercise in which participants outfitted themselves with firefighting equipment to put out a fire inside a building, and a search and rescue simulation.

Tiffany Edgecombe, assistant fire chief of training and logistics, said the camp is important because it provides access to what a career as a firefighter would be like.

Participants of Camp Inspire experience a flash fire during a training scenario, in Edmonton on Sunday, September 19, 2021. Camp Inspire is a firefighting camp for women and gender diverse communities , hosted by Edmonton Fire and Rescue Services. Photo by David Bloom

“We understand the importance of having a diverse membership representing our community,” Edgecombe said.

“We absolutely encourage women to consider firefighting as a career because we are all members of our community, and it’s a really nice, inclusive experience where women can come without fear of not being able to perform the physical tasks that are expected of a firefighter, they are shown that they can absolutely do these tasks, and it’s just a very welcoming environment to come and participate with like-minded people who are curious about the career option.

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Andrina Jankulovski came from Toronto to participate in the camp.

“It was the most amazing experience ever,” she said. “Meeting new people, hearing their stories, experiencing being a firefighter, it’s so amazing.”

She said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, she was laid off from her communications job and had long considered becoming a firefighter. Since then, she has focused on her mental and physical preparation. 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 slam through a wall and get through. I didn’t think I could do these things and I did.

Tyana Laflèche said attending camp also pushed her out of her comfort zone.

Participants of Camp Inspire fight a fire during a training scenario, in Edmonton on Sunday, September 19, 2021. Camp Inspire is a firefighting camp for women and gender-diverse communities, hosted by the Services of Edmonton fire.  Photo by David Bloom
Participants of Camp Inspire fight a fire during a training scenario, in Edmonton on Sunday, September 19, 2021. Camp Inspire is a firefighting camp for women and gender-diverse communities, hosted by the Services of Edmonton fire. Photo by David Bloom

“Normally I’m not used to being in a situation where there’s so little space you can move in, especially when it comes to having the tank,” she said. . “I think the tank was the hardest part during the confined spaces.”

Laflèche said Camp Inspire shows that a career as a firefighter isn’t just for men.

“Women can do anything men can do. It all depends on our strengths and how we behave,” she said.

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