The Oklahoma City Fire Department has been recruiting women for years. But this is the first year they've had a camp for women. On Saturday, campers cut open cars and set up ladders. And on Sunday, the hands-on activities didn't slow down.
Extinguishing flames, strapping up in gear, and crawling through tunnel, nine aspiring women took a walk in a firefighter's shoes.
“It's definitely more mental than physical,” said participant, Morgan George.
“It just makes you want to do it more,” said participant, Trisha Lerma.
Camp Inferno was designed to give future female firefighters a true taste of the challenges they'll have to overcome if they choose a career in firefighting.
But Lerma, 20, is no stranger to overcoming challenges.
“I used to be bigger and then I got small because I did drugs. And I stopped doing drugs and became a healthy person and now here I am,” she said.
Lerma attended the camp to prepare for a career in putting out fires and saving lives, to learn from leaders who've paved the way for women in the field.
One of the camp instructors, Erin Jones, is the only female firefighter in the history of the Guthrie Fire Department. She's now a battalion chief.
“It took me 20 years to get there, but it was a really great feeling to accomplish that,” Jones said.
It's an accomplishment she hoped would help convince campers to the join the industry. There are only 54 active, paid, female firefighters in the state.
If you would like more information about Camp Inferno or becoming a firefighter in the area, call Cathy Dawson at (405) 390-5315.