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  • Writer's pictureHanna Dobbels

Meet Alyssa, 51-D, 4th Generation Firefighter

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

I was just three days old when I went to Alsace Manor Fire Company to meet the rest of my family. My father, his godparents, my uncle, my great grandfather, and my godparents all ran there.

I grew up playing around that engine room and bingo hall. I would stand by the door and watch my dad or pappy (GG) leave the dinner table to rush to calls.

I remember one night my dad and I were sleeping and there was a big call - the fire trucks were running out of fuel. Since my dad was a manager at a fuel company, he woke me up and took me to help fill the trucks that were fighting a huge barn fire.

I eventually became a 4th generation firefighter. My best friend’s family also ran there, so we both joined when we were 14/15. The brotherhood and dedication is why I joined, there was such a bond there and everyone had each other’s backs. They were all my heroes and I wanted to be one too.

They were all my heroes and I wanted to be one too.

My godmother had become Chief when I joined and while there were plenty of women who ran there, I thought it was so awesome.

What has been a challenge you’ve faced being a female firefighter?

Besides your typical “males can do the job better” attitude from all the seasoned men, I am relatively small so trying to do certain things by myself has been harder - I do get comments about being weaker. I think most of the time it’s just playful, but then other times there are comments that make me feel stupid and I know I’m not. I just keep trying and practicing to get better and better. I don’t say "I can’t," I say “not yet" and ask for help when I truly need it. Women can do anything.

I don’t say "I can’t," I say “not yet" and ask for help when I truly need it. Women can do anything.

What was fire school like for you?

I loved it, it was intense and they really challenged you. I want to continue to do more schooling like that because I think it’s very beneficial to practice and get to learn from old school firefighters!

What was intimidating about joining the fire service?

I think honestly it was just intimidating joining another company (First West Chester). I knew Alsace my entire life so it wasn’t scary, but then I had to join another place where I only knew one person. But no matter where you join, the thrill, the adrenaline from gearing up, the thank yous from the community, the brotherhood - getting to be a part of something bigger than myself is what keeps me motivated to serve.

What is your message to women interested in the fire service?

Do it, it’s intense and you have to be serious about it. You are saving lives and risking yours. Show up those men, take care of yourself, and reward your heart for helping people.

Stay tuned for more stories....

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