Oklahoma City firefighters are looking to recruit more women to their team. They say ladies on the force are few and far between, but Camp Inferno aims to change that.
The fire department wants a force that is as diverse as the city it serves, so firefighters are encouraging women to come out and test their skills for themselves.
On a team of about 1,000 firefighters citywide, just 21 of them are women. Cpl. Tracy Alberty admits it can be hard to keep up with the guys, but at times she has the advantage.
“Being small helps me get into smaller places to fulfill a role that someone bigger couldn’t fill,” she says. “It’s all about how determined you are and how hard you want to work.”
During the two-day Camp Inferno, Alberty will be instructing other ladies who are interested in potentially joining the team.
“Anything within the job function,” she says, “we’re pretty much going to try to get hands on and kind of give them a taste of what the job is really like.”
In the few years the department has hosted the camp, they have successfully recruited women for not only OKC, but also Tulsa, Stillwater, Deer Creek and Norman.
I can attest Alberty is a great teacher, showing me everyday skills like dragging a hose from the engine and getting it to the fire. Spraying it was my favorite part. Dragging a dummy the weight of a grown man was a bit more difficult, but a necessary part of firefighter training.
Despite the challenges, Alberty hopes to inspire girls to think outside the box of social norms.
“It’s not something I grew up thinking I could or would ever do,” she says. “It wasn’t ever on my plate of possibilities, but it was the best career decision I ever made. I love my job.”
Camp Inferno runs the weekend of Oct. 13-14. You can apply online here. The most qualified candidates will be selected.