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  • Writer's pictureHanna Dobbels

Meet Marina, First West Chester Fire Dept.

My motivation to join the fire dept came from my desire to help, to be useful in something truly important, and to be a part of something so meaningful.  I also wanted to be useful to the wonderful people who save lives every day - to make their lives and job easier.

I wanted to make some contribution to the best of my ability and be able to protect what is dear to me, my loved ones and even people I don’t know because we all need care and support.  And I guess I just believe that if everyone makes even a small contribution, as a result it will save many lives and make this world a better place.

What was fire school like for you?

Honestly, it was an amazing experience! I met interesting people, both students and instructors. As is most new things in life, fire school was truly a learning experience - I still have a lot of work to do! That being said, it wasn't impossible and as crazy as it sounds, it is an experience that I would recommend to literally everyone, even if you do not plan to continue your career as a firefighter.  Having emergency management training will help you understand all the dangers that can await anyone and how to be safe and take care of your loved ones. 

The biggest challenge for me is the physical part. Everything is heavy! When I first started, I was ready to pass out after opening the hydrant, but now I have progressed and after a couple of years I am stronger and know my body better.

Don't give up just because something is hard at first.

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

Yes - this is a dangerous job with many physical and psychological risks. But if you're even the littlest bit curious, give it a try! It's worth it, those around you are worth it. And your fire dept crew will take care of you and give you tasks that you can handle while you continue to work on yourself!

Real talk. What was intimidating for you joining and how did you overcome that feeling?

I was intimidated by the fact that I am a female...but also, very light and small! I was physically unprepared and knew nothing about what it is to be a firefighter. I ran right out of my comfort zone by joining!

But during the first day I started, the lieutenant who met me at the station was incredibly friendly and said that they will teach me. I knew I was in good hands!

There is no need to be a Superman from scratch.

Shortly after that, I met women while on other fire calls who were younger or even smaller than me who fearlessly coped with this job. It gave me even more strength to start working on myself. I can do this. You can too.

What keeps you motivated to stay and serve?

Thats easy. My team, the invaluable experience of being a firefighter, understanding that I will have a chance and skills to help someone in a dangerous situation......and fire trucks :)

Interested in joining or learning more opportunities to volunteer? Reach out to your location fire station. Local to West Chester? Visit First West Chester, Fire Department today!

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