ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - A competition that’s sure to heat things up — for the first time, an all female firefighter team from the Orlando Fire Department is entering a major competition.
“I’m down I’m down come get me!” a firefighter yelled in a drill. A beeping noise signaled that a firefighter isn’t moving.
With no time to spare, fellow firefighters crawled through the simulated space blindfolded using their senses and years of training.
“The blindfold is because when we get into a structure, nine times out of 10 if it’s on fire and there’s smoke, we can’t see anything,” Raquel Camacho a firefighter paramedic said.
This is just one of the tests these firefighters will face at the Rapid Intervention Team competition in a couple weeks. A test they must be ready to pass every day on the job.
“If I’m the person going down, I want everyone to be able to do this,” said Ed Griffin, district chief for the Orlando Fire Department.
For the first time there will be an all female firefighter team from Orlando in the competition.
“I’m 5’2” 140 pounds and I can do the work of a guy that’s 200 pounds and 6 foot by technique,” Camacho said. “Maybe not the same way he gets the job done.”
Camacho has been with OFD for 20 years. She’s one of 22 female firefighters in the department – out of a staff of 600. She said she is excited to show what her team can do.
“This job requires me to be ready for that family that might need me to go in and get their children – their loved ones,” Camacho said.
She is also encouraging more women to consider suiting up to save lives.
“Put themselves out there to go shadow, to go ride, to go investigate, be curious, do your homework,” she said.