Female firefighter in Park City encourages young women to give the career a shot

PARK CITY, Utah – Firefighting may be a male-dominated profession, but one Utah woman is making her mark in the field.

Fox 13 caught up with Erica Owens at Station 35 in the Park City Fire District. The former BYU soccer player dove into the profession a few years ago after taking an EMT course with her sister.

“She wanted to learn to be able to help her kids if she needed and I was coaching at the time. So, I thought it would be a good skill to have,” said Owens. “We both came away from the experience thinking is awesome. This is what I want to do.”

This line of work appealed to Owens because she wanted to help others.

“You come into somebody’s life in what can potentially be the worst day of their life. And you do everything that you can to help them and make it better for them," she said.

Owens admits it’s not an easy job. It comes with a set of physical and mental demands.

“Park City has one of the hardest tests in the state, if not in the nation. From carrying a ladder, dragging hose, to going up and down stairs with a hose. You have to do it all in 4 minutes and 4 seconds," Owens said.

When Erica’s on-shift waiting for her next assignment, she spends a lot of downtime with her male co-workers.

“We only have one other firefighter here who is a female,” said Owens.

Park City isn’t the only station with few female firefighters. Women only accounted for 4.5 percent of all career firefighters nationwide between 2012 and 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Owens says the biggest challenge was proving herself to her male counterparts.

“You’re coming into essentially a family that has been through hard things together for a long time," Owens said.

On the job for 18 months now, Owens feels like she’s part of the team.

“When you work at a fire station, you get pretty good at having a toughened exterior while still being soft inside,” said Owens.

She wants young women to know firefighting is a career they should definitely consider.

“They don’t think they’re strong enough or they’re capable enough. For those women I’d say, you can find a place, a department somewhere that you will fit into," she said.

For more information about job opportunities with Park City Fire District, click here: https://www.pcfd.org/