Women's Commission Offers Firefighting Career Options To High School Students - 2008

When St. Francis High School in Sacramento held their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Fair, a new participant set up a booth: The CFFJAC Commission to Recruit Women for the Fire Service.

The commission attended this annual career fair event to introduce young women to the opportunities available within the firefighting profession. It was not the first time the commission has reached out to high school students, but it was the first time it targeted St. Francis High School, a college-preparatory, Catholic all-girls school in Sacramento.

Over a thousand young women descended upon the school gym to meet representatives from over 20 different science and technology-based organizations including UC Davis Medical Center, Cisco Systems and NASA.

At the Women's Commission booth, Sacramento City Fire Department firefighters Amy Boos, Steve Runke, Jason Hemler and Bill Calkins handed out brochures and answered students' questions. Behind them were photos of female firefighters. A TV monitor played an informational video about what it takes to be a firefighter.

"Can girls be firefighters?" asked Libby Grotewoho, 14, as she passed the booth. "I didn't know."

Senior Toni Davis stopped at the booth to pick up some brochures. "I'm thinking about being a paramedic," she told Boos.

"You can be both," Boos said, handing her some information.

"I want to do something exciting and help all kinds of people," Davis said.

Boos later led a fire engine tour to a group of young women, who may just be the next generation of female firefighters.

For senior Jasmine Hernandez, Boos's presence at the event helped her see what she, too, can achieve if she chooses a firefighting career.

"Your first impression is that it's mostly men, but when you go to something like this, it opens doors. It makes you think, 'I can do it,'" Hernandez said.