The Fire Department of Hermitage-Sandyville recently welcomed its first female, and Fire Chief Dennis Simms hopes other women will follow her lead.
Brittany Fizzard has attended her first meeting, and there she began her orientation by doing weekly tasks such as topping up the oil and gas in the equipment and going down to the pond to test a new submersible pump.
“Joining the fire department was something I always wanted to do,” she said. “When I was younger, I always looked up to them, always admired the work they did for their community. A couple of weeks after I told Josie (town clerk) that I was interested, Dennis invited me to attend a meeting. There’s a lot to learn, but I will learn by doing, in a hands-on manner.”
Brittany said that she is used to handling heavy equipment aboard the fishing boat with her partner Shawn McDonald who is also a firefighter. She plans to do everything the male firefighters do, to work side-by-side with them: she will handle the heavy pumps, she will drag the hoses, and she will help put up a ladder and aid in a rescue.
“I was welcomed by all the firefighters,” she added. “I think they might expect me to invite and encourage other women to join. Also I think a woman will be better able to connect with other women in the town and teach them about things such as safety in the home. We will see.”
Fire Chief Dennis says that the recruitment process is always open for new members. “Our door is always open, and we would welcome both male and female recruits offering to serve their town as firefighters.”