SAN DIEGO — It's an exciting time for 27-year-old Amanda Wineberger, a San Diego resident who moved here from Connecticut.
“I’ve become connected with the SD community, and I love giving back to the community,” she said.
That's because she and dozens of other women got to experience some of the grueling training required and expected at fire academies. Two men are also in the group, and their physical strength will be challenged for the next six weeks.
For Amanda, becoming a firefighter has always been her dream.
She knows the risk of the job but says in a male-dominated field, fire departments need more women prepared to place their own lives at risk to protect people in need.
“Being a firefighter is the absolute most amazing job you can do. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes mentally and physically exhausting, but I want to love what I do, and that's firefighting,” said Amanda.
On Saturday, participants in fire gear learned from current firefighters how to maneuver heavy ladders, how to control fire hoses and chainsaws safely, and even how to prepare a self-contained breathing apparatus. There are all tools firefighters need to learn when running toward danger.
Those who participated in the prep academy were also reminded that firefighters aren't just battle blazes but are there to help save people.
“When you find yourself in this position, you don’t think about it; it becomes second nature,” said Selena Lienal, the Women’s Fire Prep Academy coordinator.
The women's fire prep academy launched in 2021. Since then, it has helped 36 participants become hometown heroes.
It's also motivated women to become interested in the fire department.
“It’s pretty well known among female firefighters, and those I know told me about it, so I jumped on it,” said Amanda.
The WFPA is provided at no cost to the participants, and those interested in the program must be 18, have a GES, and be EMT certified.
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