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How this future firefighter is using her story to inspire women in the field

Savannah Sinkula is part of NWTC's Fire Safety program, bringing young firefighters into the business
Posted at 6:10 PM, Feb 07, 2024

  • Video shows aspiring firefighters getting hands-on training experience.
  • Data shows fire departments across the nation are aging, and work is being done to attract younger members.
  • NWTC's Fire Safety program is entering its 10th year. Students across the state take part and find jobs quickly, according to instructors.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

According to National Fire Protection Association, half of the firefighters today are between the ages of 30 and 49. At NWTC, they're having no problem in bringing younger people to the industry.

Life as a firefighter — it's something Savannah Sinkula has been familiar with from a young age.

"I'm a third generation firefighter, but a first generation career firefighter within my family," Savannah Sinkula, a Fire Medic student at NWTC, said.

Now she's now making that career possible through the NWTC's Fire Safety program.

"I enjoy it because it's a very hands on program and I'm a hands on learner," Sinkula said.

A difficult experience, she said, inspired her to pursue this work.

"I was in a car accident two years ago and after that I realized I wanted to help people like those that helped me," Sinkula said.

She's joined here by other aspiring firefighters.

"We have more students than we have seats, which is an awesome problem to have," Jonathon Ladwig, NWTC Fire Instructor, said.

He said students in the program come from all over state including working with people in Washington Island.

Ladwig said recruiting volunteer and career firefighters is a big need for the industry.

The National Volunteer Fire Councilsaid demands on time and increased training requirements are two reasons why departments find it difficult to add younger members.

Savannah doesn't need any convincing.

"In my uniform or on calls, there will be little girls that will get so excited to see someone like me being a firefighter and that always brings me joy," Sinkula said.

Ladwig said the opportunities to the join the industry is at an all-time high with some stations even looking at high school students to train and join their team.