Fayetteville Kathleen Tyrel, 16, of Fayetteville, was one of 22 young women from the United States and Canada to graduate from the sixth annual Phoenix Firecamp, a weeklong overnight camp in Utica designed to introduce teenage girls to the opportunities for women in fire and emergency services. She is the daughter of Dan Tyrel and Kristin Palazzoli and a student at Fayetteville-Manlius High School.
The nationally recognized program, conducted by Fire Service Women of New York State, Inc., is the first of its kind in the Northeastern U.S. and remains one of the few nationwide. 119 girls, ages 14-19, have successfully completed Phoenix Firecamp since its inception in 2007. Camp Director Lt. Anna Schermerhorn-Collins of the FDNY, who conducts an annual survey of graduates, said,
“We are gratified that the majority of campers are involved with their hometown volunteer fire departments, several aspire to firefighting as a career and others are enrolled in undergraduate studies for emergency services, said camp director Lt. Anna Schermerhorn-Collins of the FDNY, who conducts an annual survey of graduates. “They say that camp was the inspiration and motivation.”
Kathleen said she thought Phoenix Firecamp would be a confidence booster in preparation for possible future jobs in firefighting or police work.
“I wanted the ability to help people in an emergency and to develop better team working skills,” she said. “I definitely made new friends and the food was amazing.” Kathleen particularly enjoyed water rescue, learning about thermal imaging cameras and auto extrication.
The hands-on exercises include aerial ladder climb, basic engine and ladder operations, forcible entry, search and rescue, auto extrication and disentanglement, SCBA usage, water rescue, basic ropes and knots and a propane drill. Classroom learning focuses on nutrition, fitness, fire safety, the chemistry of fire, SCBA orientation and differentiating between engines and ladders. At the end of the week, the campers are CPR certified. The curriculum is based on International Fire Service Training Association guidelines.