12th International Women in the Fire Service Conference
By Bettietta Kime
In late April, the Oakland Fire Department hosted the 12th International Women in the Fire Service Conference. In 1982, when Women in the Fire Service Inc. began, the organization consisted of approximately 200 women from around the United States, and was formed as a way for female firefighters to network. After 25 years and hundreds of new WFS members later, the organization has biennial conferences as well as leadership conferences on the even years. Both events present an opportunity for the women and men of the fire service to further their education as well as provide an opportunity to work together in a professional and supportive environment. Many countries were represented by their attending firefighters including Germany, Tobago, Australia and Japan, to name a few. Likewise we had firefighters from all types of departments ranging from rural to urban to wild land and institutional. Again, offering an opportunity for female and male firefighters to network and learn together.

While a majority of the classes this year were held at the Oakland Marriott, a multitude of hands on courses were offered all around the Bay Area. Our own Treasure Island Training Facility was host to four courses, including a Pump Operations, Residential Ventilation and Aquatics Rescue class. Members of our own department including Lt. Dave Ritter, Katherine Alba-Swanson and Bob Styles taught the Aquatics Rescue class at Clipper Cove on a beautiful, rare sunny morning. Anita Paratley, Bob Cunningham and Luis Ramirez teamed up to instruct a 1st in/2nd in pump operations with RIC rescue course on the first day of the conference. Both classes received praise and enthusiastic responses from the participants.

There are many people who deserve recognition for their efforts during the conference; First and foremost is to thank Chief Hayes-White and her administrative team for their support, Chief Siragusa and Captain Driscoll, who helped facilitate with the logistical requests for the courses on Treasure Island. A special thanks to the entire Treasure Island Training staff, especially Tom “Gibby” Gibson, and Brian Brady for their enthusiasm and professionalism. Last but certainly not least, a huge thanks to the Executive Board of 798 and it’s members for contributing financially to this very important and successful event. For more information about WFS please see their website at www.wfsi.org.

Photos provided by Bettietta Kime


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