Last month Prince George’s County Fire/EMS hosted Camp Embers, a two-day summer camp aimed at exposing girls 14-18 to the fire service.
As part of an effort to increase recruitment and diversity amongst its ranks, the Prince George’s County Fire and EMS hosted its first Camp Embers. The two-day summer camp is held at the PGFD Academy and is intended to encourage high school girls to explore a career in the fire service. Attendees were supplied with all the necessary gear and were put through some of the same drills rookie firefighters perform.
“It’s going to introduce them to women that are doing the job,” said Prince George’s County Fire Chief Tiffany Green. “They’ll be able to see and be empowered by actual female firefighters that are going to show them they can come into this job, they can be successful, they can be leaders, they can be lieutenants and captains, and they can one day be a fire chief.”
“It’s my opinion that you can’t be what you can’t see,” added Green. “Representation matters.”
The program comes at a time when recruitment and retention in the fire service are under a microscope. Nationally and statewide, career and volunteer fire departments are struggling as recruitment numbers continue to decline, and an aging workforce means an increasing number of retirements.
According to Enquirer Gazette,
Prince George’s County fire department is hiring 80+ firefighters beginning in July. The fire department’s first recruit from the upcoming hirings may be coming from Camp Embers. 18-year-old Alexis Morales submitted her application and has her fingers crossed that she will be accepted.
This effort also highlights the importance of MACo’s 2023 legislative initiative on firefighter recruitment and retention. As part of a multiyear strategy, MACo engaged with stakeholders to develop a comprehensive study bill that would bring everyone together to examine the issue and develop recommendations. The formal adoption of SB414 created the Commission to Advance and Strengthen Fire Fighting and Emergency Medical Services Within Maryland and formally set into motion a deliberative examination process which is set to conclude with a report due in December.
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