Let’s face it, Firefighting is a hard and dangerous profession career / volunteer job that anyone has ever had to face, but you do it because you love the sport in it.  When you are female, there can be some hurdles along the way but you have proven to the world that you have made it, displaying confidence, knowledge, strength and compassion. You have empowered women everywhere to follow in your footsteps tenfold and show that no matter what gender you are, you are succesful in everything that you do.

Young girls look up to you to see what you have done to blaze the trail for them to enter into the firefighting profession or as a volunteer. Some female teenagers go to fire camps to learn, experience and live it. Others have been waiting to be a firefighter all their life. Many have moved from being in EMS with a strong will and desire to become like one of you. No matter what avenue, a person has taken to get to this amazing point in their lives – it is YOU, the Firefighter that has blazed a trail for all Women in the Fire Service.

This project, FEMALE FIREFIGHTERS ACROSS THE GLOBE: From their Perspective (Title is a work in progress) is all about what or whom inspired you to become a Firefighter, what support do you have currently that encourages you to keep moving, how you and your crew mesh together? What attributes make a great Firefighter and what experiences can you share with others? What advice do you have that could help mold a person to become the best firefighter ever? How about the encouraging words you could give to the one whom may be struggling during the Training Academy? Or, to the one who has been hired on but is unsure of herself?

We know you all have successful careers or are dedicated volunteers with great stories, compassionate hearts, strong drive to continue with a job you love and a geniune unbreakable sisterhood bond that no other organization can match.

–> Here is a story originally published back in April 2012, with Seattle Fire’s Janae Carpenter.  Hoping this will inspire it just like it did for us. <–

Being in the company of a firefighter or a Medic is pretty awesome (even when you are hurt or not) and to watch them in action is very impressive. Some leave us in awe, but to have one as a friend is an honor and a privilege.

We had the opportunity to sit down and chat with one of Seattle Fire’s amazing firefighters, Janae Carpenter out of the Ballard firehouse #18, in April 2012.

SFD Firefighter Janae Carpenter in 2012.
SFD Firefighter Janae Carpenter in 2012.

Why does she stand out from the already many hundreds of amazing firefighters within the Seattle Fire Department?

Let me tell you about her story and where it all began for this former Alaskan native.  Things could have turned out so differently with this former Art student.  However, she had a great support system made up from family, friends and future Firefighters who helped guide her down a path of so many life’s aspirations not even yet tapped into.  Carpenter has turned many of these into multitudes of succeses both large and small.

“After watching the movie, “The Firefighter” with Actress Nancy McKeowen, firefighting peeked my interest.” says Carpenter.

In 1995, Carpenter began her four-year Art Major journey at the University of Alaska to become an Art teacher.  However, as fate would have it, she would find a more attuned interest in and love for firefighting as her professional career.

On a four-year volleyball scholarship, she didn’t really pursue her dream until 1997 when she applied, passing the physical and oral board with the University of Alaska Fire Department.  However, there was somewhat of a small glitch in her plan.  Her coach said she couldn’t be a firefighter with two-years remaining on her scholarship.

The Fire Chief made a commitment to Carpenter to hold the job open for the remaining two years.  In 1999, she was hired on with the University of Alaska Fire Department, after graduating with a BA in Metalsmithing and Jewelry with a Minor in American Sign Language.  She would also find herself with an AA in Fire Science.  The gifted Carpenter even had some of her artwork on display at a local gallery in Alaska.  Talk about being a woman of many talents!

One year later after a friend got married, a group of eight friends decided to come down and apply with the Seattle Fire Department. She was the only one to pass the written and oral becoming #54 on the list.  The class was later cut due to budget shortfalls.

 The following year in 2001, her and another group of friends would come back and retest with Seattle Fire once again.  She passed the written only moving down to the #150’s on the list.   Hired on with the department in February 2002, she would find another obstacle.

After moving here in February 2002, the City was experiencing another budget issue and were talking of laying off her and 20 other newly hired firefighters.  “With just moving here, with no job and no money.  Things were stressful not knowing.” she admits but after the budget was reconfigured – she is proud to put all of this behind her.

Carpenter would find herself entering the ranks with Ladder 11/C and on Engine 32/B.  She currently is quartered at Station 18’s Ballard Firehouse on Engine 18/C.  As a major accomplishment, she just celebrated her 10th Year Anniversary in March 2012. Congratulations!!

We know you have heard of these firefighting stories before, but  makes SFD’s Firefighter Janae Carpenter really stand out?

These are some of her amazing accomplishments both on and off the fireground:

1)  Female Firefighter for the last 10 years.

2)  Figure Competitor placing 1st, 2nd and 5th in Nationals.

3)  In April 2012, she competed at The Emerald Cup Figure Competition and at the Washington State Natural – Pro Qualifier.

4)  Miss May 2010 & 2011 and Miss February 2012 in the Washington State Firefighters Calendar; benefits the Northwest Burn  Foundation.

5)  The Susan G. Komen’s 3 Day, 60-mile event with walking with her mom, a Breast Cancer Survivor.

6)  Participant in the 2011 MS Walk.

7)  Fierce competitor with the Warrior Dash (extreme sports with obstacles and mud) – last 3 years.

As if that isn’t enough, she continues to keep the :

1)  Participated in two (2) Triatholons in 2012

2)  Dirty Dash (another extreme sports event).

3)  Two (2) Fishing Trips in Minnesota and Alaska.

We wish you well with your competitions and never give up your life’s dreams.  We are very inspired by your many talents.  Keep up the great work!

Thank you again. This project couldn’t be successfull without YOU.


Email: nwfireblog@comcast.net


LR (Lisa) Swenson – Editor/Public Safety Writer

(c) 2013 The NW Fire Blog