ST. LOUIS – Kate Freshman grew up in a firehouse with her dad but dreamed of becoming a meteorologist!
She took a ride along with her dad one day and a new dream was planted. Kate works for the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District as an EMS and firefighter and realized quickly that there were not many females in the industry. So she got to work, first as a volunteer with ‘Camp Fury,’ a summer camp that gives teen females hands-on experience and insight into a career as a first responder.
She then created ‘Fire Up STL,’ a recruiting weekend in St. Louis for females ages 18 to 40. The recruitment event gives prospective candidates an opportunity to try the basic skills that firefighters and EMS use to see if they might feel compelled to join the industry. The weekend includes climbing the ladder, conducting search and rescues, and using the tools necessary if someone needs to be cut out of a vehicle or home.
In addition to her full-time job, creating Fire Up STL, Kate is supporting a local scholarship in honor of a fallen firefighter, which gives her the money needed to send someone through the fire academy and EMT school. Additionally, Kate is focused on HR efforts to be sure that once a female decides to pursue a career as a first responder, there are more maternity benefits, for example, but also that females have fire-resistant apparel made for the female body.
A dispatcher peer who nominated Kate told FOX 2:
“Kate is very big in community engagement and very passionate about her job, so much so that she created a weekend-long camp just for females interested in the firefighting profession. She also helps with Camp Fury to further share her passion for her profession and to share her experience as a female in a male-dominated field. She is very caring for all the residents of the city she serves. Kate goes above and beyond to show females are just as capable of the firefighting profession as anyone else and is always willing to help others who need guidance when and where she can. She has also helped spread the word about Workrite women’s clothing line for first responders.“