By: Captain I Tracey Reed
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue
The first session of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Girls Fire and Rescue Academy is off to a great start!
Six girls, ages 14 and 15, are attending camp Monday through Friday this week from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The purpose of the Academy is to build the girl’s confidence in their unique abilities, push them beyond their comfort zone, and to learn the value of supporting others rather than putting them down.
Fire Chief Richard Bowers kicked off the Academy on Monday, personally welcoming each student and offering a few remarks. Monday also included a field trip to the McConnell Public Safety and Transportation Operations Center to learn what happens when a person calls 911. They met, and spoke with, the people who answer and process those calls.
Students then toured the Wellness and Fitness Center where the importance of fitness and proper body mechanics were taught by the center staff. The girls watched Technician Black complete the work performance evaluation that all Fairfax County firefighters complete annually. They went through the Candidate Physical Abilities Test which is one step in the process to become a firefighter. Their favorite part of the test was the maze!
We finished the day by learning how to put on our firefighter personal protective equipment (PPE).
Tuesday, and for the rest of the week, the girls started the day with physical training. On this day the workout involved a Tabata Circuit and walking the stairs while wearing PPE. Staff and students talked about motivation and worked on developing a playlist of motivational music for Wednesday’s workout! The rest of the morning was spent learning CPR. Our afternoon session consisted of learning how to stop bleeding with tourniquets, using EpiPen’s, inserting intravenous and intraosseous catheters, learning how to intubate, and teaching students how to apply moulage for realistic emergency medical training.
Today (Wednesday) students will be engaged in engine and truck company operations evolutions, including fire hose lines, the maze trailer, ladders, tools, and forcible entry.
On Thursday, students will be learning more about the Fire Marshall’s Office and our Urban Search and Rescue Team. The girls will run through technical rescue operations evolutions – ropes and knots, lowering systems, and vehicle extrication.
Friday will consist of hazardous materials operations evolutions, a firefighter’s role in community outreach, and opportunities to continue learning through the High School Firefighter Program, the Explorer Program, and volunteering in the community. The week will conclude with the girls and their families having dinner at a fire station.
We appreciate all the support we have received from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department members and leadership, Local 2068 Fairfax County Professional Fire Fighters and Paramedics, Fairfax County Professional Fire and Rescue Officers Association, Fairfax Hispanic Firefighters Association, Apple Federal Credit Union, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Women’s Employee Group and the Progressive Firefighters of Fairfax County.
Most of all THANK YOU to the girls for going outside their comfort zone and trying something new!