The Road to Becoming a Firefighter
Female Firefighters; First Responders
If my friends and family know anything about me, it's that I am the type of person that does not take no for an answer. My entire life I have been told that I am not smart enough, strong enough, fast enough, even pretty enough to do the things that I have set my mind to and accomplished. I've been told I am too small, too cute, not assertive enough, etc. The funny thing is, I was previously Law Enforcement and, to be honest, most LEOs are Type A personality type of people. I have always been the person that speaks her mind, for the most part. I may not have been assertive in other aspects of my life, but when it came to my job, oh you damn well know I will speak my mind and say what I have to say.
With that being said this is my journey. This is the start of my career change from Law Enforcement/First Responder, to Firefighter/First Responder. Many of my LEO friends jokingly say I'm a traitor because I am going to the "other side," meaning the fire family side. But it's not about sides, it's not about who's better or does the most work. As First Responders, we all have our pros and cons to the jobs we do. Long hours, no time with family, overworked, and under paid. We all go through it and we all suffer together. Why do we do it? Because we are the few that are making that sacrifice and strive to be the adrenaline junkies, the thrill seekers, but most importantly we just want to help people and save lives.
I want to continue to save lives. I want to help people and inspire others, especially women in a field of work that is predominantly male. I started my journey a little over three months ago, and I am preparing physically for my physical agilities test for the fire academy in Texas. The test is eight revolutions of a variety of different workouts one must complete. The tricky part is, the first three minutes of the test are done with a 70lbs weighted vest, on a stair stepper going 60 steps per minute, and the remainder of the test is done in a 50lbs vest. For me that has been the most challenging because I am a little over five feet tall and 125lbs. A 70lbs vest is half and, a little bit more, of my own body weight. The beauty of it all is that I have a fiancé who is a Level 1 CrossFit coach that has been kicking my ass and helping me get prepared for my physical agilities test. The hardest part isn't doing the entire test, the challenging part for me is the mental toughness and not feeling defeated when the 50lbs vest starts to feel a little too heavy and I start to get tired when a new evolution begins. I sometimes just want to stop and quit and take a breath. But I keep reminding myself that this is what I want, and this is what I need to do in order to be successful. Physically, I know I can do the test and, for that matter, do the job. I did competitive sports for 10 years and even on my own time now in my adult life I do CrossFit, kickboxing, and yes, because I was a cheerleader and dancer growing up, I still love to take barre/pilates/dance classes. You'd be surprised how difficult those classes can be on your body. My weakness right now is not letting that pain get to me. Not giving up when I know I have a few more push-ups left or just a few more stairs left to climb.
I will be updating periodically on this and to anyone out there who is going through the same thing as me, whether it's Fire, Police, or nothing that has to with public safety, please don't be afraid to reach out and share your story with me. We can get through this, and together we can all be successful.