Written by: Jenny with Cheyenne Cook, Local Firefighter
As part of the #sheKCkindnessproject, Brooke and I want to highlight and show our support for community helpers in Kansas City.
We hope to show you the 'human' side of those who protect us and our community.
Last month, we featured Sgt. Tiffany Davis from the KCPD.
Now, we'd like you to meet one of our local female firefighters. We have an incredible amount of respect for all firefighters and police offers, running TOWARD the danger, not away from it.
Where did you grow up? Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Sibley, MO. My parents owned land and we had ourselves a little mini farm with every animal you could think of. Horses, chickens, goats, a pet turkey, a goose... to wild raccoons, we had it all!
Are you married? Do you have kids?
No I am not married and I do not have any kids, no rush for either.
When did you realize that you wanted to be a firefighter?
I realized I wanted to be a firefighter in the beginning years of high school when a local fire department came to my school and told us all about the job. The 'adrenaline' aspect of the job was appealing to me. I always wanted to know 'what happened' whenever I saw lights and sirens go by. I joined the same local fire department that came to my school as an explorer and went on from there to be an EMT/firefighter and now paramedic/firefighter.
What does your family think about your career choice?
HA! What does my family think of my career... well let’s just say I am the only hose dragging, basement saver in my family. My entire family is in law enforcement. They say all of the time that I chose the wrong career and went to the dark side of doing nothing but eating and sleeping, but deep down they know I chose the right career.
Do you feel females are treated equally as firefighters?
Yes, I truly believe that females are treated equally. We do the same job as the men. Sometimes, we just have to find other ways to get it done.
No, I am nowhere near as strong as the men I work with. Nor do things come as easily to me as they do to them. But, technique is a huge thing that I have learned, especially for me, since I am shorter - there are things I have to do differently.
Although being small has its advantages, like climbing in smaller areas without taking my air pack off where as some of the taller guys cannot, there are definitely pros and cons to both.
The fire department is one huge family, I mean we work together for a whole 24 hour shift, so it’s like having additional brothers and sisters outside of your blood relatives.
What is the scariest situation you've been involved with as a firefighter?
The scariest situation, thankfully, I have yet to encounter. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we run into burning buildings for the thrill of things but that doesn’t mean that we put our guard down because fire can shift and become out of control. Teams of two are the best method because it ensures everyone 'has each other'.
What is the best part of the job?
The best part of the job is the relationships you build with your crews. Saving lives and stopping a fire before someone's house and their belongings are completely destroyed -- that means the most. We can’t save everyone or everything but we do give it our best and hope to leave a positive impact on every situation we encounter.
What's the worst part of the job?
Worst part of the job has to be the hours and the pay. We work 24 hours on - 48 hours off. So, we work once every 3rd day. It is hard to raise a family or have a family because it is a whole day you are without them. Some departments are short on personnel, so then - overtime. There have been times where I have been at work for five days straight.
Don’t get me wrong. We love the career, but the demanding hours can be overwhelming and stressful. The pay isn’t the best for what we encounter either, but money isn’t everything and when you love what you do -- for me, no amount of money would stop me from doing what I love.
Have you ever regretted your career choice?