First Black Woman Fire Chief in New England Organizes Firefighters Camp for Girls 


October 16, 2023

In Connecticut, an initiative known as the Girl’s Future Firefighters Camp is equipping young girls with the skills and knowledge needed to pursue careers as firefighters.

The program is led and funded by Chief Shelly Carter, who made history in March when she became the first Black woman fire chief in New England.

Chief Carter first launched the camp in 2015, NBC Connecticut reports. The camp has been offering practical training sessions for girls during the spring and summer months.


But the camp’s recent session in Bloomfield marked the camp’s first venture into the fall month of October.

The training emphasized the importance of swift response times, teaching the girls to gear up in just 45 seconds. Additionally, they tackled a range of essential skills, drills, and exercises, including becoming certified in CPR/AED.

Chief Carter’s own journey in firefighting began in 1999, spurred by a challenge.


“Pretty much on a dare. Someone told me that I would never pass the test. I’ve had a lot of no’s said to me,” she said.

She has now made history as the fire chief for the State Department of Development Services. And she hopes to inspire young women everywhere.

“This program is not about really making firefighters. It’s more about empowering ladies to be anything they want to be. Whether she’s a firefighter, a hairdresser, the president, I don’t really care. She can do anything as long as she sets her mind to it,” she said.


Since 2015, they have trained 250 girls through the camp. And Chief Carter has plans to expand the program, aiming to hold short weekend sessions on a monthly basis.

Photo by Shelly L. Carter

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