Camp Ignite fans flames of potential career for Victoria teen

Victoria teen Sarah Walker at Camp Ignite, a mentorship program designed to give girls in Grades 11 and 12 an insight into pursuing firefighting as a career. (Megan Sabel photo)Victoria teen Sarah Walker at Camp Ignite, a mentorship program designed to give girls in Grades 11 and 12 an insight into pursuing firefighting as a career. (Megan Sabel photo)
Victoria teen Sarah Walker at Camp Ignite, a mentorship program designed to give girls in Grades 11 and 12 an insight into pursuing firefighting as a career. (Megan Sabel photo)Victoria teen Sarah Walker at Camp Ignite, a mentorship program designed to give girls in Grades 11 and 12 an insight into pursuing firefighting as a career. (Megan Sabel photo)

Victoria teen Sarah Walker isn’t sure if she’ll pursue firefighting, but she’s sure to keep it in mind after a stint with Camp Ignite.

Deputy Fire Chief Chris Royle said the department puts out a call every year in search of girls looking at emergency services as a potential career.

This year, they found Walker.

“We sponsored her to attend this year and it’s something we’re really proud to be part of and support,” Royle said.

Or maybe Walker found them.

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“As long as I can remember I have wanted to pursue a career that helped people in need. Firefighting has always been a part of my life as my grandpa was a firefighter and mechanic with the Victoria Fire Department. He was my inspiration and role model my entire life,” she said on social media. After his death, she wasn’t going to allow that second family to fall away. She jumped at the opportunity to learn more about firefighting as a career.

Traditionally a four-day camp on the Lower Mainland, this year was reduced to two (up from zero in 2020). Camp Ignite participants learn fundamentals of basic fire suppression, fire ground practices and terminology and have training in fitness and nutrition as well as CPR and fire apparatus. They also learn about the specialty disciplines in firefighting — such as auto extrication, hazmat, technical rescue and emergency medical response. Women in the field from across B.C. also offer mentorship.

“I still have no idea what my future holds and what my career life will look like but I know that I would like to have firefighting be part of it,” Walker said. “For women who are curious about pursuing firefighting I would tell them go for it. Don’t be afraid.”

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Victoria Fire Department