LA PINE, OR -- Young women interested in a firefighting career are invited to take part in a free three-day training camp, hosted by the La Pine Rural Fire Protection District. Firefighter Shayna Pichler says working in fire service isn't always on the radar for women, and this camp gives 16 to 25 year olds a chance to see if it's an option for them. "It really is a camp that's going to be empowering for younger women, or women who are thinking 'hey, this might be a job for me,' and it's really people that are just looking for something a little bit different," she tells KBND News, "They can expect to actually go out and do hands-on stuff." She says that hands on work can really be life-changing, "Honestly, you don't really know until you try it. That's how I found out. You really know when you get your hands on the tools and you get thrown into the situations. It's never anything similar; it's never the same thing every day. It's always something a little bit different." She adds, "If you love working out, and staying physically fit, and you love just doing something that's a little bit different, and helping people, that's definitely when you find out firefighting's for you."
Attendees will learn search and rescue, vehicle extrication skills, fire hose handling, and wildland fire operations. The camp is July 12-14, but applications are due by July first, and should be submitted online.
Pichler says there are only a few female firefighters in Central Oregon, "We have a very, very low female rate. There's usually about one to two females per department in the Central Oregon area." According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 7.3% of the nation's firefighters are women. Pichler hopes to change that, "Everybody's accepting of it. You can do it."