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Gresham firefighters to help train young women

Seven fire departments, including Gresham Fire and Emergency Services, will oversee a three-day training camp for young women interested in becoming firefighters.

The Portland Fire and Rescue's 2011 Fire Camp will run from June 24 to 26 at the Portland Fire and Rescue Training and Safety Facility at 4800 N.E. 122nd Ave.

The event is for young women ages 16 to 19 from around the Portland-metro area interested in learning the basics of firefighting. Approximately 36 will participate in the third annual event, which is part of a new effort to recruit more women to the Portland fire bureau and to firefighting as a career, said Paul Corah, the fire bureau's public information officer.

Professional female firefighters created the training camp and will supervise it. Firefighters from departments in Portland, Gresham, Albany, Medford, Camas, Salem and Clackamas County will take part.

Campers will learn specific firefighting skills, including how to lower oneself from upper-story windows using a rope, how to haul a hose and how to climb an aerial ladder on a fire engine.

Classes also are designed to instill confidence, build leadership and team skills in young women, and provide an opportunity to try firefighting through hands-on training, including search-and-rescue skills with a dummy, using chain saws to cut through wood and learn to work while wearing up to 100 pounds of gear.