Girls gear up to be firefighters for a day — and take steps toward a possible career path

Girls Inc. of Chicago’s summer camp members visit Quinn Fire Academy to get hands-on training from pros.

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Kids from Girls Inc. try on firefighter gear during the Firefighter for A Day event at Quinn Fire Academy on Thursday, July 21, 2022.

Kids from Girls Inc. try on firefighter gear during the Firefighter for a Day event at Quinn Fire Academy on Thursday.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Participating in a fire escape simulation was Nasiyah Turner’s favorite part of the “Firefighter for a Day” event Thursday, and it has her rethinking what she wants to do when she gets older.

“I kind of want to be a teacher when I grow up, but I think it would be fun to be a chief,” the 10-year-old said. “It was fun seeing the amazing things we could do at each station.”

Turner and 24 of her campmates from Girls Inc. put on heavy fire gear and even used the water hose at an event hosted by the Chicago Fire Department and Girls Inc. of Chicago at the Quinn Fire Academy.

A girl uses a water hose with the help of a firefighter during the Firefighter for a Day event.

Kids from Girls Inc. use a fire hose during the Firefighter for a Day event at the Quinn Fire Academy on Thursday.

Brian Rich/Sun-Times

Girls Inc. teaches life skills and gives exposure to different careers to girls ages 5 to 18 nationally.

Carol Sharp, director of programs at Girls Inc. of Chicago, said since the Chicago chapter’s founding in 2017, it has partnered with the CFD to host “Firefighter for a Day” to show female representation in a male-dominated career, while also having activities the girls can enjoy.

Sharp said collaborating with the Fire Department again for the event was easy.

“It was just a natural fit because we just always feel so welcome here,” she said.

CFD Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt said the experience can serve as an inspiration to the group. “A lot of the girls who have participated in the event have never seen a female firefighter or paramedic, so they can look at us and know that they can do it, too; anything is possible even if it looks impossible.”

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