Karen DuPont: "We have lots of women who are kinesiology majors and teachers that decided, 'Naw, I don't want to do this this. I want a more active job and something that gets me out and gets me going."
Karen DuPont wanted to be a doctor and was on her way with her studies when she suddenly found her passion in first aid. That led her to become an EMT, then paramedic, and she was hooked and became a Houston firefighter.
"For being a working mom, it is the best job I have ever thought possible. And where else can you go and work 9 to 10 days a month, bring home a full-time salary, good benefits and a decent pension?"
DuPont was the 4th woman hired by the Houston Fire Department, a very select group of professional women.
"Currently, we have about 104 women, and right around 4,000 men. So percentage-wise, we're about 2.5 percent of the workforce. Ideally, before I retire, I would love to see that get up 4 percent of the workforce."
She's promoting Camp Houston Fire, a recruitment effort began a few years ago by former Fire Chief Phil Boriskie, an effort to address the dwindling number of female firefighters.
"Camp dates are March 22, 23, and 24, it is an application only camp. We can only accommodate 32 young women, but we need a great many more to apply, because we'd like to see the camp grow. Because we think this is the best to interest young women. When they're juniors and seniors in high school, they're getting ready to make career decisions."
DuPont says being a Houston firefighter is a once in a lifetime experience that cannot be matched. Application deadline is February 8th. You can find more information at www.camphoustonfire.com.