OC Fire Authority teaches next generation of firefighters at Girls Empowerment Camp

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Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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The Orange County Fire Authority held its third annual Girls Empowerment Camp, with the goal to inspire the next generation of women firefighters.

IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- The Orange County Fire Authority held its third annual Girls Empowerment Camp Saturday, with the goal to inspire the next generation of women firefighters.

The girls tested their mettle, and with the help of professional firefighters, are breaking through barriers.

Makenzie Snyder is a firefighter and volunteer at the third annual OCFA Girls Empowerment Camp.

"We are just excited for the campers to be here today and to expose them to the career we all love," Snyder said.

The mini-fire academy at the training facility is giving girls ages 14 to 18 some real hands-on experience as firefighters.

"That's the whole goal, really planting the seed and encouraging young women to consider the fire service as a career," OFCA Chief Brian Fennessy said.

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Sixty girls enrolled in the camp and underwent two days of training.

They learned to use ladders, axes and chainsaws.

Camper Isabele Neira said she was most excited to be "working with a chainsaw, I think that would be really fun, but mostly learning about fire safety and how to help other people."

Neira is no stranger to firefighting as her dad is a firefighter.

"I'm still really inspired by his work to just go into this field," she said.

Fifteen-year-old Izzy McCann is also weighing the possibility of following in her father's footstep.

"I feel like there are a lot of things I am interested in, but it is definitely an option to me," McCann said. "I've always [had it] in the back of my head."

While women in fire service is nothing new, the hope is that camps like these will add more women to the ranks.