'Hero Day' gives girls a chance to be firefighters

(Source: Memphis Fire Department)
(Source: Memphis Fire Department)
(Source: Memphis Fire Department)
(Source: Memphis Fire Department)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis' top firefighter is hoping to inspire young girls to think outside the box when deciding on their future.

Memphis Fire Director Gina Sweat manages one of the top-ranked and largest departments in the country.

It was 1992 when she was a young recruit and only the fourth female Memphis firefighter.

Those days have changed, and now she's helping inspire other young girls to become first responders.

Memphis Fire Department will host its annual Hero Day on Saturday, Sept. 23 in partnership with the Girl Scouts.

"When I was a little girl, I didn't know any female firefighters or even have an idea that girls can be firefighters, so it wasn't something I aspired to be until even after I graduated from college," Sweat said.

It's the third year for this event, and Memphis Fire Department said it's about encouraging young girls to dream outside the box and be whoever they want to be.

"Come out and get a lot of hands-on experience, whether it's a firefighter, a paramedic, E.M.T., a fire alarm operator, and it's just to introduce them to those kinds of nontraditional careers that girls have access to now," Sweat said.

About 150 girls will be suiting up in protective gear, tackling obstacle courses, rappelling down five-story buildings and putting out mock fires.

"Anything that they can dream of they can be," Sweat said. "And that's the whole motto of Girls Scouts is 'If you can see it, you can be it.'"

The cost of registration is $20, which covers a T-shirt and lunch for the day.

"And you can sponsor at least one young lady who otherwise wouldn't be able to attend if it wasn't for that help," Sweat said.

For additional information, visit the event page on the Girl Scouts website at this link.

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