There are so few women in Daly City’s Fire Department that the women’s bathroom was converted into a private restroom for male captains. In Alameda County, department-wide communications frequently refer to all firefighters as “he” or “him,” despite the longtime presence of women like Fire Captain Kimberly Larson.
“It’s not that women don’t want to be firefighters, and aren’t capable of being firefighters,” said Larson. “It’s just that we’re never told, never exposed to it; it’s never seen as an option.”
Larson has set out to change that. She’s inspired by specialized camps for women, such as First Alarm Girls Fire Camp, a Bay Area-based training camp designed to introduce young women to non-traditional careers like firefighting.
In 2018, Larson founded NorCal Women in the Fire Service, an organization that puts on the annual camps for high schoolers across the Bay Area, including on San Francisco’s Treasure Island.