Fla. fire dept. hires its first career female firefighter
Kelly Seiferheld is Citrus County Fire Rescue’s first career female firefighter and says she feels like she found a second family
By FireRescue1 Staff
LECANTO, Fla. — A fire department hired its first career female firefighter.
Citrus County Chronicle reported that Kelly Seiferheld, 29, is Citrus County Fire Rescue’s first female career firefighter after graduating from the Fire Rescue Academy.
Seiferheld said she originally planned on joining the Coast Guard after high school, but decided she wanted to be a first responder after realizing she had a fear of water.
“Initially I was in the EMT program with the Nature Coast EMS, and I ran a lot of my calls on the ambulance with firefighters and saw their motivation and camaraderie,” Seiferheld said. “And I wanted to be a part of that.”
Fire Chief Craig Stevens said that Seiferheld, who is 5’4”, can run into a burning building while carrying a 126-pound ladder as well as any of the other firefighters in the department.
“Firefighting is not just about strength. Don’t get me wrong, you do have to have a level of strength, but it is more of a mindset,” Chief Stevens said. “Not giving up is number one, having the heart and desire to help people, and understanding your limitations and techniques are the biggest things to overcome strength.”
Seiferheld said joining the fire department has made her feel like she found a second family.
“These guys are like brothers. No matter how many men are in the department, the moment you start your career you have gained that many brothers,” Seiferheld said. “They are spending a lot of time training me, taking all of their years of knowledge to teach me different strategies.”
Seiferheld will complete her year-long probation period in July, and she hopes to inspire other women to follow in her footsteps.
“Get out there and do it. They are not here to push you away. Size doesn’t matter, sex doesn’t matter. I come in and tell them I want to do this, and they give me all of their knowledge and their time, and I retain it and learn it.”