'We can do whatever they can': Female fire fighters compete in FireFit championship, Canada
‘FireFit,’ a fire fighting championship, made its way to the Queen City in Saskatchewan, Canada. The two-day event began with an individual challenge portion on Saturday, 27 August 2022. Randi Cowan is a fire fighter from Pilot Butte and was one of the three women that participated in the challenge. Regardless of the low number of women attending the event, Cowan said it was important for her to be at the competition and to follow her passion of fire fighting.
“This is something I take as a passion and I love,” she explained. “I believe anybody that is able to should be able to follow their dreams.”
Cowan explained that the competition allowed her and the other female participants to act as role models for younger generations. "This is so important for young women to understand that they can do whatever they want to do,” she said.
“Having those young people be like, ‘Oh my god that is incredible,’ that is a really good feeling.”
Katelyn Gateman is a fire fighter in Weyburn and signed up for the competition on Friday afternoon. She said seeing more women at the event is amazing. "We want to be treated exactly as the guys at the department, do all the same things,” said Gateman. “I think it's awesome to see more women out here and to see more women wanting to get involved in doing this kind of thing and just realizing that it isn't a male field that we can absolutely do whatever they can.”
The course is the same for men and women and provides situations a fire fighter would experience in the line of duty.
The challenge included six separate stations including a six-story stair climb, a hose hoist, forcible entry, a run, a hose advance and a victim rescue. The challenge was also done in full fire fighting gear.
“The weights are all the same, they are dressed the same,” said Hilary McRoberts. “Fire doesn't care, it’s an equal opportunity. It’s going to burn the same way whether you're a man or a woman.”
Cowan and Gateman met for the first time on Saturday morning, they competed against each other later in the day.
Despite the competition, at the end, it’s all about encouragement. "We were cheering each other on, we wanted both of us to do really well. Here it’s about you (being) here and we are going to push each other and anybody that finishes,” Cowan explained. “Anybody that’s here is already way ahead.”
Sources: Regina CTV News