Breaking the mold: Women firefighters

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo — When we think of firefighters, a lot of us probably think of big hulking men running into burning buildings, but there’s actually a growing number of female fire fighters out there that do everything the guys do.

There are 426 firefighters in the Springs.

21 are women.

That makes up just under 5 percent.

The national average is 4 percent.

Being a firefighter takes a lot of mental and physical strength.

They have under sixty seconds to put on all of their equipment and they run through burning buildings sometimes with axes to break down doors.

Even though we may think of being a firefighter as a male only job; women do it just as well.

“I can’t say I grew up wanting to be a firefighter, but as soon as I got a taste of I knew that’s it what I wanted to do,” said firefighter Rachael Staebell.

She risks her life alongside her male counterparts.

“My role on a fire scene is to go interior with that firefighter and put out the fire and then as a paramedic my role on the medical scenes is to assure the highest level of patient care possible for our citizens,” said Staebell.

The fact that she’s a woman doesn’t even matter.

She’s just a firefighter.

“Any time gender plays a role is when we’re using the restrooms, really. I mean, the gear doesn’t care about gender. Fire certainly doesn’t care if I’m a woman or a man,” said Staebell.

Her favorite part is having great camaraderie with the other women.

“It’s fantastic, because I think we all understand a common experience as women on our job. What’s nice is that the numbers are going up, because I think by me just simply being here little girls out in the town see me doing my job and they realize ‘I have a shot at that,’” said Staebell.

That kind of inspiration is vital.

“It’s so fundamentally important that women understand, not even little girls, but just women in general in our community that they have options. You can do, if you’re willing to put the work in, you can be anything you want to be,” said Staebell.

If you’re a young girl and you’re wondering what it’s like to be a firefighter they have a summer camp called Summer Heat.

It’s a camp for 15 to 19-year-old girls and you learn some leadership qualities and also get a taste of some firefighting skills.

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