Page 18 - UFRA Straight Tip Fall 2022 - Volume 23 Issue 4
P. 18

First Responder Women
LIFE Retreat
Lift, Inspire, Focus, Empower
by Joy Montoya
The female fire community can feel small at times. Being in a male- dominated field can do that. At the start of my career, I just wanted to blend in and be “one of the guys”—not to ruffle feathers or to stand out.
Just put my head down and work hard. Even with other females at my department, I felt like I had to still do it on my own and not ask for help, support, or assistance. This is one of the biggest regrets of my career.
Throughout my time in the fire service, I have realized how important it is to have a community. That you don’t have to do it alone, and that there are so many people out there, male and female, to support and mentor you. This has been a life-changing mentality and a legacy that I want to pass on.
It has been inspiring to witness so many events and groups come to- gether this past year as this is becoming more of a focus. There are more resources than ever available to the female firefighting community. For example, there is now a Female Firefighters of Utah Facebook group as
a place to start networking, mentoring, and providing some education for current female firefighters and those aspiring to be one. Unified Fire Authority hosted a Women Firefighter Leadership Symposium back in February to help women in the fire service grow their influence through engagement and advancement, helping females realize the importance of their influence and how to build that confidence to promote. Salt Lake City, Draper, and Lehi Fire Departments have also sponsored Female Firefighter Camps specifically for young women interested in exploring firefighting as a career and how to prepare and get started.
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