Transcript: Jen Miller: Firefighter | Mar 30, 2000

(Theme song plays )

Fast clips show female pilots, police officers, reporters, scientists, firefighters, artists, construction workers, and other women at work. A title appears on screen: Women’s work.

A fire fighter appears with a mask on. There is smoke everywhere.
Then Jen is wearing fire fighter attire appears in front of a truck and other co-workers. A Canadian flag appears. A sign reads “City of Toronto Fire Academy.”

A caption reads “Jen Miller. Firefighter Recruit.”

Jen is in her twenties has brown hair tied back and sits wearing a blue uniform now. Behind her there are uniforms hanging.

Jen says RIGHT NOW I'M TRAINING
TO BE A FIREFIGHTER
WITH TORONTO
FIRE SERVICES.
PRIOR TO BECOMING
A FIREFIGHTER
I WAS A CERTIFIED
ATHLETIC THERAPIST.
MY CAREER IN ATHLETIC
THERAPY JUST WASN'T
REALLY AS FULFILLING
AS I'D HOPED.
THE CLINICAL PORTION JUST
WASN'T REALLY KEEPING ME
INTERESTED AND SO I
STARTED TO FOCUS ON
THE EMERGENCY FIRST RESPONSE
SIDE OF IT, AND I WANTED TO
GO INTO EMERGENCY SERVICES
AND FIREFIGHTING JUST
WAS MUCH MORE
INTERESTING TO ME THAN
ANY OF THE OTHER
EMERGENCY SERVICES.

Clips show a fire fighter blasts water with a huge hose, co-workers speaking, a vintage photo of her father as a fire fighter.

Jen continues I THINK WHAT APPEALED TO
ME ABOUT FIREFIGHTING
WAS THERE'S A BIG TEAMWORK
ATMOSPHERE AND MY FATHER
WAS A FIREFIGHTER AND I
JUST REALLY ADMIRED
WHAT HE WAS DOING AND
THE STORIES HE
HAD ABOUT FIREFIGHTING.

A door labeled “Recruit Classroom,” opens.

Jen says THE TRAINING AT THE
ACADEMY INVOLVES
THE FIRST PROBABLY FOUR
WEEKS WERE PRETTY MUCH
JUST CLASSROOM.

There are several students inside the classroom wearing blue uniforms.

The teacher says THE FINAL GROUP,
SAME QUESTION,
WHAT DID YOU WRITE DOWN
FOR YOUR SPECIAL HAZARDS?

Jen says OUR STUFF WAS
BASICALLY JUST SAYING,
THE ONLY OTHER
STUFF WE ADDED,
I COULDN'T QUITE HEAR
WHAT MARY SAID SO I
MIGHT BE REPEATING SOME
OF WHAT YOU SAID BUT,
ALL THE FILING CABINETS IN
THE HALLWAY AND THE BOXES
OF PAPER IN THE
HALLWAY AS HAZARDS.
NOW WE'RE GETTING INTO
A LITTLE BIT MORE
ADVANCED
FIREFIGHTING STUFF.
SO WE USUALLY SPEND THE
MORNINGS IN THE CLASSROOM
AND THEN IN THE AFTERNOON
WE'RE OUT ON THE FIRE
GROUND DOING DIFFERENT
FIRE ROTATIONS.

Fast scenes show fire fighters working.

A caption on screen reads “Claire. Student.”

Claire is around 12 years old with short Brown hair, and wears a beige shirt and sun glasses.

Claire says I THINK BECAUSE
I'M VERY ACTIVE,
YOU KNOW I DEFINITELY
WANT AN EXCITING CAREER,
I DON'T THINK I WOULD
LIKE A DESK JOB.
I WOULD DEFINITELY,
PROBABLY LIKE
A FIREFIGHTER WOULD BE A
VERY EXCITING JOB
BECAUSE YOU GET TO GO HOME
A HERO, THAT'D BE AWESOME.

Jen says WELL WE DO SEARCH AND
RESCUE OPERATIONS.
AS PART OF THE CLASS WE'LL
BE IN AND LYING AROUND
AS VICTIMS AND OUR CAPTAINS
WILL SET OBSTACLES UP
AND CHAINS OF ROPE FOR OUR
BREATHING APPARATUS
TO GET CAUGHT ON AND WE HAVE
A BLACKED-OUT FACE MASK
TO IMITATE A REALLY
SMOKE SCENE.

[beeping]

A man speaking through a walkie-talkie. Several fire fighters carry a woman with a blanket. Then they lay her on the floor and put an oxygen mask on her.

A man says THERE'S JUST
BEEN AN EXPLOSION,
MY PARTNER'S LOST; I
CAN'T FIND HIM ANYWHERE!

Another man says WE DID AN INCIDENT
YESTERDAY WHERE
WE WOULD DRAG
OUT A VICTIM.

A man says LET'S JUST GET
HER TO THE DOOR.

A drawing of two doctors has a quote that reads “Over 50 percent of all firefighter calls are medical response calls.”

A split screen shows Jen speaking and firefighters using their equipment.

Jen says AND THEN A MEDICAL TEAM
WOULD COME OVER AND
TAKE OVER THE MEDICAL
TREATMENT OF THAT VICTIM.
SO DEFIBRILLATION OR
TREATING HEAT EXHAUSTION
OR WHATEVER IT MIGHT BE.

A man on the other screen says I GOT A GOOD
RADIAL PULSE!

Jen says WE'RE TYPICALLY
FIRST ON THE SCENE
SO WHILE THE AMBULANCE
IS STILL ON ROUTE,
IT'S IMPORTANT THAT THAT
PERSON GET WHATEVER
THAT IS TWO MINUTES OR
FOUR MINUTES OF GOOD
FIRST RESPONSE CARE.
SO WE'VE ALL BECOME
DEFIBRILLATOR CERTIFIED
AND CERTIFIED FIRST
RESPONDERS, WHICH IS
SORT OF AN ADVANCED FIRST
AID COURSE, I GUESS,
MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE.
AND THAT JUST ALLOWS US TO
DO SAFE MEDICAL TREATMENT
PRIOR TO THE AMBULANCE
ARRIVING ON THE SCENE.

There is a room full of firefighters.

A lady with brown hair says ONE THING, GUYS, YOU'LL
NOTICE WHEN YOU'RE ON
A FIRE SCENE THERE'S GOING
TO BE A TON OF PEOPLE
GIVING YOU A TON OF
DIFFERENT INFORMATION.
THE PROBLEM WITH OUR
FIREFIGHTER DOWN,
THE REASON SHE WENT
DOWN WAS FROM
HEAT EXHAUSTION, OKAY?
WE HAD A GUY AT THE FEET
SAYING HER FEET ARE COLD,
WE THREW AN EMERGENCY
BLANKET ON HER.
IT'S HARD WHEN YOU'RE
SIMULATING, BECAUSE
IF IT WAS HEAT
EXHAUSTION YOU'D
FEEL THEIR SKIN.
YOU CAN SEE HOW THINGS
WOULD GET MIXED UP
IN A REAL SITUATION.

A caption on screen reads “Tina. Student.”

Tina is a young teenager with black hair and wears a beiger shirt, a black sweater, and glasses.

Tina says FIREFIGHTER IS MORE
LIKE YOU ARE A HERO.
IT'S ACTION BUT IT'S REAL
LIFE AND IT'S EXHILARATING
BECAUSE YOU'RE JUST
RUNNING THERE JUST TRYING
TO SAVE PEOPLE
AND STUFF.

Several scenes show a fire fighter using a hose, and co-workers behind supporting him. Water splashes everywhere.

Jen says THE BEST PART OF
THE TRAINING IS NOW,
I MEAN WE'RE
FINALLY OUT THERE,
WE'RE FINALLY ON A FIRE
WITH A NOZZLE, YOU KNOW,
FIRE THE WATER AND
STEAM AND SMOKE
AND THIS IS
THE BEST PART.
THE MORE SORT OF
FIREFIGHTER SPECIFIC
STUFF WE DO, THE
BETTER IT GETS.
A man says NICE, LOTS OF
STEAM GENERATION.
GOOD SHOW.
OKAY, YEAH.

Jen says PUMPER OPERATIONS IS
SETTING UP THE WATER PRESSURE
COMING OUT OF THE
PUMP SO THAT YOU HAVE
A SAFE, WORKABLE PRESSURE
AT THE END OF THE HOSE
AT THE NOZZLE
WHERE THE FIRE IS.
SO, IT'S A REALLY
IMPORTANT JOB BECAUSE
YOU WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT
THERE'S NOT TOO MUCH
PRESSURE THAT THAT PERSON
IS NOT GOING TO BE ABLE
TO CONTROL THE HOSE, BUT
THERE HAS TO BE ENOUGH
PRESSURE SO THAT
PERSON IS SAFE.

The team checks a man’s pulse to see if he’s alive.

Jen says AS A FIREFIGHTER I THINK
THE HARDEST THING IS GOING
TO BE BEING A SCENE, BEING
AT AN INCIDENT AND
BEING THERE TO HELP SOMEONE
AND NOT BEING ABLE TO.
SO, LOSING A VICTIM IN A
FIRE OR PULLING SOMEONE OUT
AND THEM NOT MAKING IT
OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.
I THINK, BECAUSE WE'RE
THERE FOR THAT PURPOSE,
TO HELP THOSE PEOPLE AND
FOR IT TO BE OUT OF
OUR CONTROL AND US TO NOT
TO FOLLOW THROUGH ON THAT,
I THINK THAT'S
GOING TO BE HARD.

A drawing of a fire fighter has a quote on it that reads “The first known female firefighter was Mollu Williams, an African- American slave. New York City, 1818.”

(music plays)

A group of students are in a classroom. A paper appears on screen.

Jen says THERE'S 6 WOMEN
OUT OF 41 PEOPLE AND
IT HAS ITS CHALLENGES
AND IT DOESN'T.
THE CLASS ITSELF, THE GUYS
IN THE CLASS ARE GREAT
MOSTLY BECAUSE THEY ARE
FROM A GENERATION WHERE
THEY EXPECT TO
WORK WITH WOMEN
IN ALL SORTS OF
ENVIRONMENTS.

A caption reads “Chantale. Student.”

Chantale is in her early teen years with light Brown hair and wears a black shirt.

Chantale says BEING A FIREFIGHTER
I THINK IT WOULD BE
DIFFERENT BECAUSE
NOT A LOT OF WOMEN
ARE DOING THAT JOB
AND MORE MEN DO THAT.
IT SEEMS AS IF THEY
HAVE MORE POTENTIAL
THAN THE WOMEN IN
THAT AREA DO.

Jen says I CERTAINLY FEEL LIKE THE
SAME THINGS ARE EXPECTED
OF ME AS THEY ARE OF ANY
OF THE MEN THAT ARE HERE
AND I CERTAINLY FEEL THAT
I AM PULLING MY OWN WEIGHT.
AND WE HAVE LITTLE
FRIENDLY COMPETITIONS
WHEN WE'RE ON THE FIRE GROUNDS;
AND IT'S A PERSONAL GOAL
OF MINE TO MAKE SURE THAT
I BEAT AT LEAST A FEW
OF THE GUYS IN MY GROUP.
AS LONG AS I'M NEVER LAST,
I'M HAPPY AND SO FAR
THAT'S BEEN FINE.

A split screen shows Jen speaking and firefighters using the nozzle.

(music plays)

A drawing of a firefighter has a quote that reads “As of 1996, there were 21,900 professional firefighters in Canada. Approximately 75 were women.

Jen changes into her uniform and puts on her boots. Then she and the crew walk out with their equipment.

Jen says I GUESS WHEN I WAS IN HIGH
SCHOOL I PICTURED MYSELF
IN AN OFFICE,
BEHIND A DESK.
I FELT THAT THOSE WERE
REALLY MY OPTIONS.
FIREFIGHTING DIDN'T SEEM
LIKE AN OPTION JUST
BECAUSE WOMEN JUST DIDN'T
DO THAT - AND IT'S NOT THAT
NO ONE TOLD ME I COULDN'T,
IT WAS JUST SORT OF
HOW THINGS WERE.
THERE WAS NO REAL REASON
OTHER THAN THAT IT JUST
DIDN'T SEEM APPROPRIATE
OR RIGHT, BUT I GUESS OVER
THE LAST FIVE OR SIX
YEARS, I'VE FIGURED OUT
THAT WHAT'S APPROPRIATE
AND WHAT'S BEST FOR ME,
MIGHT NOT ALWAYS
BE THE SAME THING.
THE FIRST DAY WE GOT
OUR BUNKER GEAR WAS
ALL EXCITING BECAUSE WE
FINALLY LOOKED LIKE REAL
FIREFIGHTERS AND OUR HATS
HAVE OUR NAMES ON THEM.
I NOW HAVE RUBBER BOOTS
WITH HANDLES ON THEM
AND THAT'S PROBABLY
BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT.
BEING A FIREFIGHTER
MEANS TO ME THAT
I'M AN IMPORTANT PART
OF THE COMMUNITY,
THAT I'M HELPING
PEOPLE OUT,
THAT I MATTER AND THAT
I MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
THAT'S PROBABLY THE
BIGGEST THING THAT
MY ACTIONS ARE GOING TO
DIRECTLY AFFECT SOMEONE ELSE
AND HOPEFULLY DIRECTLY
HELP SOMEONE ELSE.

A woman with Brown hair smiles.

Theme music plays as credits roll.

Camera, Nic Popescu and Tom Ford.

Field Audio, Paul Nicholson.

Post Audio, Andi Charal.

Editors, Craig Gellner, Julian Lannaman, Michael Morningstar, Steven B. Pinchuk, James Poll.

A Young boy laughs.

Chyron, Empyreal Palmer.

Graphics, Andre Avalos.

Artwork, Stephanie Brissette. Hillary Chan, Briana Kortje.

A blond woman smiles.

Research, Lynn Bowdrey, Women in Motion.

A lady with Brown hair smiles.

Thanks to Rose Asunders- Wilson, Terry Buckley, City of Toronto, Fire Academy. Jeanne McWright, Etobicoke School of the Arts. Principals and Students of Deer Park, Fallingbrook and Ursula Franklin Schools.

Jen smiles.

Special thanks to Jen Miller.

Production Co-Ordinator Lauri Emery.

Production Manager Suzanne Lacey.

Creative Head Jan Donio.

A Production of TVO Ontario.

Watch: Jen Miller: Firefighter