LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 25, 2018) — Lexington firefighters hosted the inaugural Brenda Cowan Fire Camp last weekend. The camp was open to girls, ages 16-19, and was predominantly instructed by female firefighters.
“Historically, the fire service has not done a great job of marketing the career of firefighting to girls,” said Lexington Fire Chief Kristin Chilton. “This camp is our way of trying to bridge that gap, and to let girls know they can pursue any career they want, including firefighting.”
Seven girls participated in the inaugural two-day camp that introduced EMS and fireground tactics, and focused on empowerment and sisterhood. The first night included a panel discussion where female firefighters spoke openly about the unique challenges facing women who choose to pursue a career in this male-dominated profession.
Chilton reported the LFD has an authorized strength of 574, of which only 15 are female, which does not include three female recruits expected to graduate in July. The second day was hands-on. Campers advanced hoselines, climbed ladders and used jaws-of-life to cut up cars, to name a few stations.
This free camp was named after fallen Lexington Fire Lieutenant Brenda Cowan, who was shot and killed in 2004 responding to an EMS call that turned out to be the scene of domestic violence.
“Brenda was a role model for all, but especially young girls,” said Recruiting Battalion Chief Lee Hayden. “Naming this camp after her was a fitting way to honor her memory and her legacy.”