‘Camp Ignite’ helps young B.C. women pursue firefighting careers

Campers learn auto extrication at past year’s Camp Ignite. Photo supplied by Camp IgniteCampers learn auto extrication at past year’s Camp Ignite. Photo supplied by Camp Ignite
Camp Ignite is open to young women in grades 11 and 12 from across B.C. Photo supplied by Camp IgniteCamp Ignite is open to young women in grades 11 and 12 from across B.C. Photo supplied by Camp Ignite
Campbell River firefighter Debra Rogers talks to a group of young women at Camp Ignite. Photo supplied by Camp IgniteCampbell River firefighter Debra Rogers talks to a group of young women at Camp Ignite. Photo supplied by Camp Ignite
Campers learn skills like hose work at the camp. Photo supplied by Camp IgniteCampers learn skills like hose work at the camp. Photo supplied by Camp Ignite
This year’s camp will be held over two days in Vancouver. Photo supplied by Camp IgniteThis year’s camp will be held over two days in Vancouver. Photo supplied by Camp Ignite
The camp culminates in a live fire exercise. Photo supplied by Camp IgniteThe camp culminates in a live fire exercise. Photo supplied by Camp Ignite

Only about four per cent of firefighters worldwide are women, but a B.C. summer camp is looking to change that.

Camp Ignite is a camp for young women who are interested in getting in to firefighting. Going into its 11th year, the goal of the camp is to help young women in grades 11 and 12 who might be interested in firefighting get a taste of what it’s like and learn some basic skills.

“It’s important that we represent the diversity in the communities that we serve,” said Campbell River firefighter Debra Rogers, who also works as communications and correspondence coordinator for Camp Ignite. “I think women have a lot to bring to the table. It’s not just brute strength anymore. We do a lot of medical calls, there’s cultural issues that need to be addressed that sometimes women can better address, especially in larger centres.”

RELATED: Homeless man says ‘thank you’ to Chilliwack firefighters for building him a shelter

“It’s important to have the diversity — whether that means women or other minority representation,” she added. “That’s the world we live in and I think that all public service should represent that diversity.”

Campbell River fire chief Thomas Doherty agrees: “It’s great to create some more diversity,” he said.

“It’s well known that there’s not a lot of females in the fire service, particularly in the suppression side of things. I think bringing that awareness up and getting the interest out to the younger groups to let them know that there are options out there and career paths,” Doherty continued. “We want to make sure that we give them all the right tools to guide them into what they’re interested in doing.”

The camp started as a mentorship idea just over a decade ago, and expanded over time to be a four-day camp. Things have had to be cut back a bit this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are still able to provide a few days of education.

Besides the basic skills like SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) knowledge, auto extrication and fire extinguishing techniques, the campers also get to meet women who are already a part of the industry and build connections for their future.

“The idea is that if they have any ambitions to go in that area they could get a sense of what might be required, and they get to see women doing that work and talk to them about the challenges they face in terms of integrating in to a non-traditional role,” Rogers explained. “They get to see women who came in in the early days, women who came in recently and talk about the shift of the mentality and tolerance for women in the role and the way the job has changed over time.

“Certainly, firefighting isn’t what it was 40 years ago. What are those new expectations, what does the new landscape look like and what are the variety of opportunities?”

This year’s camp will be on Aug. 14 and 15 in Vancouver. Applications will be accepted until June 1.

“When young girls apply, we link them with their local fire department… and they get sent to camp on that fire department’s dime as somewhat of a representative of their region. That’s how we make it accessible to young women who may not be able to participate,” Rogers explained.

More information on Camp Ignite is available at their website.

RELATED: ‘Like something out of an action movie,’ two boats burned in Campbell River fire

Campbell Riverfirefighters

Just Posted

Surrey council chambers. (File photo)
Surrey council endorses ‘public engagement’ strategy

Council approves ‘Public Engagement Strategy and Toolkit,’ and a ‘Big Vision, Bold Moves’ transportation public engagement plan

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey council approves $7.3 million contract for street paving projects

City council awarded Lafarge Canada Inc. $7,326,667.95 for 15 road projects in North Surrey and one in South Surrey

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo)
Locke seeks breakdown on what Surreyites get for taxes paid to Metro Vancouver

Surrey councillor presented motion to council Monday asking city staff to do a cost/benefit analysis

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
SURREY NOW & THEN: Little Theatre’s 59-year history ends with big plans for move to Langley

A former church, the theatre building/property has sold for close to $900,000

The City of White Rock wants input from residents and businesses on parking practices and regulations in the city. (File photo)
Input sought for White Rock parking survey

City to develop new strategy based on data and best practices

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read