“…my high level of energy and need for adrenaline-like activities…”

Slide47What got you into firefighting? Several factors contributed to me wanting to get into the fire service. The first one was my family. I am a 4th generation farmer and my uncles and grandfather were members of our local volunteer fire department. I was always inspired by the pride and sense of accomplishment they exuded when they returned from battling a field or crop fire. Also, my father suffered from a fatal heart condition which motivated me to become a paramedic, and then a Firefighter.

I wanted to be able to help people while they still had a fighting chance of survival. Lastly, my high level of energy and need for adrenaline-like activities (competitive equestrian jumping and snowboarding) coupled with my desire to help others in their time of distress; Firefighting seemed like a natural choice for me.

Slide48How demanding is the job? My job is extremely demanding… physically, mentally and sometimes emotionally. Because I am a Captain and a paramedic, I have additional responsibilities which make the job more stressful at times. Also, for me, being away from my daughter for several days is emotionally challenging, plus it is not uncommon for us to be up all night for two days running calls.

It is definitely top priority to have a very high fitness level to be able and work effectively, have longevity in the career and prevent injuries.  I lift VERY heavy 5x/week and do HIIT or cardio 3-4 days/week to be able to do my job effectively. Weight training and cardio are so important for this job that our department has a physical fitness policy stating that we must work out while on duty! Awesome!

How does competing impact your job as a firefighter? When I first began competing, it was difficult for me to balance work and working out.  I work at a very busy Battalion/ Engine/ Truck/Haz-mat house with many responsibilities. It is difficult to eat 6 meals per day and get a work out in when we are responding to 10-15+ calls per day on top of daily tasks, assignments and training. After a few competitions, I was able to figure out how to make it all work easier.

I take food with me on the rig if I know I’m going to be away from the station for a while, and I make myself work out late at night instead of during our designated hours if I have to. [smiles] Furthermore, it helps because my crew is very supportive. They make baked, unsalted chicken, sweet potatoes and asparagus for me during my contest prep!

Slide49Are you the only female at your station? Yes, I am the only female at my station, although there are a dozen or so throughout our  department. This is a very demanding job, and it’s not meant for everyone…but you’ll never know unless you try! I believe it’s important to be a leader and role model in the community and give people the information they need to be successful in obtaining this career.

My door is always open at work to answer any questions pertaining to getting into the fire service. It is very competitive getting into a fire department, but hard work, education, training, persistence and determination are key to achieving this amazing job.

“Yes…I have had a few injuries on the job.”

Do you feel like a super hero sometimes? I never feel like a superhero.  This job is dangerous and unpredictable. There is no room for error and there is no place for ego (in my opinion).

How many fires have you fought so far in your career? Countless small bedroom, garage, car, kitchen and fully involved house fires, but only a few really big structure fires. (Greater than a 2nd alarm).

Slide50Have you ever sustained any burns? And does the inherent danger of such a job scare you? Yes… I have had a few injuries on the job. A torn ligament and a few sprains…but that just comes with the territory. I am definitely not alone in that department! Putting 100 lbs of firefighting gear on in the middle of the night followed by hours of strenuous work (with no warm up on the stationary bike first [laughs]) is not easy!

Does the job scare me? No, not scare me…but I am aware of the dangers and I am very cautious. Making it home to our children, significant others and families takes priority over everything else.

“It is my greatest desire to be a positive influence, inspiration and role model…”

What is the scariest thing that has happened to you on the job? The scariest thing that has ever happened to me was when a floor suddenly collapsed under my crew while we were fighting a multi-story house fire. Thankfully, no one was injured, but those feelings and images never go away. You keep those incidents with you as a reminder of how dangerous this job really is!

Slide51Would you recommend a career in Firefighting to other women or competitors? I say with pride that THIS IS THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD…right after being a parent, of course. [smiles] I recommend this career to anyone who is willing to make the sacrifices and possess the dedication required to do the job. It is equally as challenging to both men and women. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses, and you must overcome whatever those are to be successful.

We forfeit holidays with our families, special occasions and birthdays, our baby’s first words and/or steps, adequate sleep and a consistent daily routine. But at the end of the day, as Firefighters, we love what we do and we know that having the ability to positively impact many lives is what it’s truly all about. I hope that my little girl realizes someday that when I’m away from her for several days at a time, it’s not because I want to be, but because it’s mommy’s job to help people who are really sick or who’s lives are in danger.

It is my greatest desire to be a positive influence, inspiration and role model to not just my daughter, but to all the  aspiring firefighters and fitness competitors out there!

“Thank you Natural Bikini Magazine for this opportunity to do just that!”


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