San Jose Fire boot camp invites women and gender-diverse individuals

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) — The San Jose Fire Department says there’s room for everyone to join the fire service.

This Saturday, SJFD will be hosting their fifth annual Women’s+ Boot Camp, open to those who are gender non-conforming and trans community members.

Seventy-five spots were filled within five hours of registration.

Jennifer Haverty is a firefighter EMT and joined the department four years ago.

“It shows that we have a lot of interest which is really amazing, one thing we love to say is that if you can see it you can be it,” Haverty said.

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The boot camp includes a 90-minute circuit-training workout similar to what participants may find at a fire academy. Afterwards, there’s a Q&A with the women of SJFD.

Haverty said it’s an opportunity for mentorship and guidance into the career.

“It’s a very challenging job physically and there are different challenges we’re going to face and we maybe have to do things differently and prepare a little bit differently and how do we do that,” Haverty said.

The San Jose Fire Department currently has 24 women firefighters out of 648. That’s 3.7 percent, and according to an independent research firm, that’s below the national average of 4.7 percent.

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Khalilah Yancey is a 20-year veteran with the Baltimore City Fire Department and a representative of the organization Women In Fire.

“Personally, I am not even five feet tall and as I said I’m in this industry, I’ve been doing this for 20 years – I am in a progressive, innovative department. And I know if I can do it, anybody can do it,” Yancey said.

Women in Fire began in 1982 as a network and resource for female leadership and recruitment in the industry.

Their website has a list of camps held for girls and women all over the country.

“I think those camps are important, it gives exposure it helps people see that anything within this job you can do,” Yancey said.

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Yancey said the organization does help fire chiefs and departments recruit women and minorities.

“When you want women in your organization you have to make them feel welcome, have a welcoming environment before they get there. That’s how you can keep them. So you don’t just want to recruit you want to retain,” Yancey said.

In September, they will be holding their International Conference in San Diego.

Back at SJFD, Haverty says the comradery brings everyone together the more women in the industry, the more outreach they can do.

“Showing them that these culture changes are happening. And they have to recognize that women offer something that men sometimes don’t, and it takes all of that in order to make a successful team in order to really service the public the best that we can,” Haverty said.

Haverty said because the interest of the boot camp is growing, they’re thinking of hosting a similar event in the fall.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.