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ACFD’s ‘Camp Heat’ Returns, Applications Open to All Teens

Camp Heat, which gives teens an inside look at the fire service, is back after a year off due to the coronavirus.

And this year, for the first time, the free camp — founded to encourage women to become firefighters — is open to all teens regardless of gender.

Twenty-four girls and boys ages 15 to 18 will have the chance to experience five days of what it takes to be an Arlington firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician.

To participate, teens must apply by May 1 and be accepted. The camp runs 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. from June 21-25.

According to the county, Camp Heat introduces teens to fire and EMT simulations and career opportunities as first responders, while teaching them life skills such as physical fitness, nutrition and CPR.

“The goal of the camp is to increase the participants’ confidence and empower them to consider entering physically challenging careers, such as the fire service, later in life,” the county website said.

As of 2018, at least three campers had applied or joined their local fire department.

Camp Heat was founded is to “empower young females through an introduction to the Fire and Emergency Medical Services.”

Nationwide, women are underrepresented in firefighting, comprising less than 10% of firefighters, according to the National Fire Protection Association. But it was an Arlington County firefighter named Judith “Judy” Brewer who blazed a trail for them when she was hired as the nation’s first female career firefighter in 1974.

This is the first year that the department has opened the program to all teens, ACFD spokesman Taylor Blunt confirmed.

With only 24 spots available, the application asks applicants to “take care in completing the application and provide thoughtful answers to the essay.”

“Applicants are expected to be responsible and demonstrate a self-starting attitude,” the application said. “Applicants must be… in good physical health in order to participate in the rigorous activities planned.”

Due to COVID-19, the campers will not be able to go inside the firehouse. Other safety precautions such as temperature checks and masks will be required as well.

Campers are required to provide their own blue pants, black belt, and safety boots/shoes.

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