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  • Writer's pictureHanna Dobbels

Meet Emily, FAME Fire Company No. 3

Why join FAME? I was motivated to join when my brother wanted me to come to drill one night and I saw what it was all about. I looked around and saw only men, and thought to myself that it was my time to show them that women are capable of doing this too. My Aunt was also (and still remains) the only female at Fame Fire Co. to reach LT.

I wanted to see how far I could push myself. 

What was fire school like for you?

Fire School was intense, and my biggest self-motivated challenge thus far in life. I showed up to day 1 with only a month of going to drill nights under my belt and had no clue what I was doing.

Everyone else seemed like they had most things figured out but I studied the books, paid attention, and started learning as I went.

I pretty much kept the fake-it-until-you-make-it attitude, until eventually, I made it.

By the end, I felt so prepared- I couldn't believe I had gone in not knowing how to even use a power tool, and now am fully equipped to hoist one to a roof and vent.

I’ve encountered others thinking "I am not qualified enough." I’ve had people take things from me when they assume I can’t lift them or even complete the task independently. I overcome it by telling them I can do it myself, and completing the task. Showing up prepared and combat ready.

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

I would tell them to just do it. There’s nothing like the feeling of being able to do something that society has told you that you can't do. Take it from me: you can do anything you put your mind to, even with no experience. You'll learn it. It's okay to show up new as long as you keep showing up.

What (if anything!) was intimidating for you joining and how did you overcome that feeling?

I was intimidated by all of the lingo, and the amount of tools and knowledge that goes into the fire service. It’s scary to think about making time for all of it outside of your normal life, but it is possible. I just made sure I manage my time well and I make it to every drill night, and as many calls as I can to get hands-on experience. 

Yes, this is a tough job. I stay motivated because it is a great way to keep myself in shape, and I know we are lacking firefighters everywhere. If I can be a small part of what could save someone’s life I want to be there. I feel like that I have so much to give to the world while I’m here and I am going to be involved in as many things as I can.

About FAME

The Fame Fire Company No. 3 is one of three 100% volunteer fire companies that make up the West Chester Fire Department.  The WCFD provides fire and rescue services to the residents of the Borough of West Chester, Thornbury Township (Chester County), and portions of West Goshen, Westtown, Birmingham and  East Bradford Townships.  The West Chester Fire Department covers approximately 26.5 square miles.

Fame Fire Company is the dedicated Ladder/Truck Company and Heavy Rescue Company for the West Chester Fire Department. The other two fire companies in the West Chester Fire Department are First West Chester Fire Company and Good Will Fire Company #2.  The specific fire apparatus responding to an emergency may range from a single piece of apparatus from one fire station to many pieces from multiple stations depending on the nature and location of the emergency.

Fame Fire Company is also an integral part of The Chester County Rescue Task Force. Fame is the lead company for swiftwater, trench, confined space and structural collapse technical rescue disciplines and operates in a support role in the rope/high-angle technical rescue discipline. Check out the Chester County Rescue Task Force Facebook page for additional information.

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