BOILING SPRINGS, S.C. (WSPA) – 5% of firefighters in this country are women, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
However, those numbers don’t add up at the North Spartanburg Fire Department.
Captain Summer Sanders, Engineer Gracie Landry and Firefighter Leanne Berthong are the North Spartanburg Fire Department’s first fully staffed all-female engine company.
“People can’t believe that there’s female firefighters still. So, it’s really cool,” Captian Sanders said. “A lot of the, you know, smaller kids especially small girls, you know, they love seeing a woman on a firetruck.”
Landry has been with North Spartanburg for about five years while Berthong is a part-timer because she works at other fire stations. Sanders is their captain after serving about a decade here.
“I think there’s always a natural doubt, maybe that whether or not females can perform a job, coming into a male dominant profession,” Sanders told 7NEWS. “But I truly believe that it can come in us listen, you learn and you perform without kind of goes away for people.”
Sanders has another company to command at home, her three young sons. She believes that experience helps her in the firefighting field.
“It is more of a mom or maternal or female instinct. To want to comfort people in a time of need. I do have three boys at home. I guess it’s natural to want to be mama bear in the fire house.”
Captain Sanders also has this message to any women or young girls with thoughts of becoming a firefighter.
“No matter how tough it gets. Stick with it,” she said. “If you think you can’t do it, you can find a mentor somebody you can look up to keep them close by and listen and learn and perfect everything you need to do.”