Women of the Carmel Fire Department thrive in male-dominated field
CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — Firefighting is a field dominated by men, but as Women’s History Month comes to a close, the women of the Carmel Fire Department are showing they’ve broken barriers and can do the job, too.
Stephanie Yoder is one of only three women in the Carmel Fire Department. She says every day is different, but she enjoys the work and has looked up to strong women her entire life.
“I wanted to become a firefighter after watching my aunt. She is a firefighter over at Pike (Township),” Yoder said. “I grew up watching her manage this really awesome career and raise a family and be an absolute rockstar with it.”
Yoder says she has faced community members that have questioned her ability to be a firefighter.
“We get that a lot. I really hope that in some point in time, maybe in my career, I will see that not become such a surprise. People look and they say, ‘Well, what do we call you? You’re not a fireman.’ And I said, ‘Well, how about just “firefighter”?’ It doesn’t have to be specific and I don’t want people to be surprised that there are women in our career field.”
Joining Yoder on the fire department is a mother of two, Arielle Morgan.
“I got hired on Carmel and I was going through recruit class. I was still pumping; I was still breastfeeding my daughter,” Morgan. said “Just being on the safe side, we went through a three-day period where I wouldn’t keep any of my milk.”
She did that because of possible contaminants she might encounter when battling fires.
Rounding out the group of three ladies is Renee Butts. She’s moved up the ladder, going from driving fire trucks to being an engineer and paramedic, to now, working in more of an administrative role.
Butts thinks this male-dominated field will soon see more women.
“I do think it’s changing. When I first got hired, there was one female on, and then Stephanie and Arielle have come along, and they’re amazing! My kids hate it when I say this, but they are the bomb-dot-com! They’re strong and they’re empowered,” Butts said. “They’re not throwing the ‘girl card’. They’ve earned their spots.”
Yoder chimed in, “Obviously, being in a male-dominated industry, you can’t have feelings that are hurt super easily, but operate in a house with a bunch of brothers.”
Morgan says that if women are interested in becoming a firefighter, they should come to talk to them.
“Most fire departments do have females, there’s just not that many at this time. If you’re interested, come on out,” Morgan said. “We need more girls. If I can do it, you can do it!”