Firefighting Attracts More Women
by Ashley Kringen, Reporter
October 12, 2012 8:01 PM
Some women have added a little bit of spice to the flame when it comes to firefighting.
More and more females could be seen donning fire gear and battling burns.
In a male-dominated field, some lady firefighters said they have to work extra harder to prove they can hang with the guys, but there's a reason they volunteer, because of the love for the job.
For Wendy Long, Mandi Cramer and Lori Mergen, they all three share a unique bond, they're women and they fight fires.
Long, also a paramedic with the Brookings Health system, has been with the Fire Department for four-and-a-half years, and she said she swears by a saying that shows her commitment to both.
"My first love was ambulance and EMS, but I'd be willing to have an affair with fire," said Long. "I really love being able to help people, I love the adrenaline, I'm kind of an adrenaline junkie.”
Apart from the ladies having other full-time jobs and volunteering fighting fires,
They said they also give back to the community.
In honor of fire safety week, both Mergen and Cramer spent their afternoon talking with kids about safety.
Cramer has been a firefighter for six years, after following in her father's footsteps and
she said being a women firefighter has it's challenges, but that's what motivates her.
"As a female, it's almost like you have to be two steps ahead of them, just to make sure to prove to them that you can do it," said Cramer.
For Mergen, she's new to the team and just took part in her first fire last week and said she's had to answer some questions about being a woman in the field.
"You're a woman out there and I was like yes, there's three of us, we're holding our own," said Mergen..
While these three women continue to battle flames, they said they encourage other females to join the team.
"Don't be afraid to try it," said Cramer.
"Get a taste of it, see how you like it, you can always go from there," said Long.
"You got to be willing to put yourself out there because you're not going to be one of the guys right away anyway," said Mergen.
People interested in volunteering could call their community fire departments to find out requirements.
In most cases, you'll have to do schooling and open burn tests.
Fire safety week goes through Saturday and officials said right now is the perfect time to change your smoke detectors.