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  • Writer's pictureHanna Dobbels

Meet Alex, Ready to Serve 51-D


I was motivated to join the fire service after hearing and watching Hanna talk about it for years. Her passion for the fire service was inspiring and something I wanted to be a part of. After a few years of nudging me to join I started attending drill during the summer of 2023 and have loved every minute since. It is such a unique way to serve the community!

I am fairly new in my fire service journey. I have been an active firefighter for 4 months. My goal is to continue to learn and contribute as an exterior fireman until I can take Fire 1 training in the summer of 2024. 

I've had to overcome my own self doubts rather than exterior challenges.  The thoughts of “Am I good enough?”, “Am I strong enough?”, “Can I keep up or will I just be in the way?” have occupied my mind frequently within these first few months.  I have been encouraged by talking and learning from other strong women I admire like Hanna and Marina from 51D.

Both have been very supportive throughout this journey as well as leadership at the department.  

No matter the level of experience at the department, we are all continuously learning and improving together.  These doubts will be an ongoing battle for me, but they can be tackled one day at a time with the help and support of those around me.

What would you tell other women interested in the fire service?

Don’t let the fear of being the minority stop you! That goes for the fire service or any other hobbies, career, major, etc. that you are considering.  As someone coming from a male dominated career/industry, just because it is not the “normal” doesn’t make it wrong.  As women we have so much to offer to these typically male dominated fields.  

I am encouraged by the women who are ahead of me and their achievements and I hope to continue breaking glass ceilings, changing culture and perspective, and opening new doors and paths for the women behind me.

So to summarize if you’re interested: DO IT!!

The most intimidating thing for me was accepting that there was going to be a lot to learn and I was not going to be the expert.  It’s hard coming in as the new person, experience and knowledge can be very intimidating.  Despite this, everyone I have met so far has been so encouraging and willing to help and teach!  

Mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow.  Ask all the questions. And find someone that can walk alongside you through the journey.

This is a tough job! What keeps you motivated to stay and serve? 

You might be catching on to a theme, but I am motivated by the passion and joy from others in the department.  Their commitment to service pushes me to continue to serve.  The fire service is challenging, unique, fun, exhausting, purposeful, energizing, intimidating, scary, and rewarding all at once.

I am motivated by the challenge of stepping outside my comfort zone and the opportunity to serve my community.

What would you tell young women interested in joining?

Find a mentor cause we are all in this together.  We learn and grow together.  We encourage and motivate each other. We’re better together!

Discover more about First West Chester Fire Department (click here) and start volunteering today!
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