ROMEOVILLE, Ill. (CBS) – Firefighters from across the state were honing their skills in Romeoville on Saturday.
It's a unique training opportunity for women that's led by women. CBS 2's Noel Brennan had the story.
Fire is no match for women who bust barriers for a living.
Christy Lynch is 26 years into her firefighting career at the Bolingbrook Fire Department. She said she started right out of high school at age 18.
Nicole Maslowski is just getting started at Glenside fire. "I've been there for one and a half years about," she said.
At the Romeoville Fire Academy, women learn from each other.
"We've got a bunch of women out here," said Maslowski. "Just practicing some fire skills and getting better techniques from everybody."
Women only make up about 8% of the fire service, according to Lynch.
"So for us to find this many women that we can pull together and do a fun day of training is not something we get to do very often," she said.
Lynch is president of the Fire Service Women of Illinois. The foundation organized the full day of hands-on training on Saturday.
Some 35 women brought their gear from departments all across the state.
"Sometimes it's good to learn from other women because they might have some technique that you might not have or might not have known or that could help you out later on when you have a fire or medical call," said Maslowski.
Lynch added, "I'm short. That's my biggest hurdle, and so finding ways where I can carry a ladder a little bit differently than my male counterparts or using my lower body strength to do my job, so that's what we're looking to try to do here is give people some tips, some tricks and kind of work together collaboratively to come up with ways to make our jobs easier."
It's no easy job, but these women are the ones to do it.
"Knocking down obstacles every day and proving to myself and others that anybody can do it," said Maslowski.
The last time the Fire Service Women of Illinois held a hands-on training session like Saturday's was 2014. Their goal is to host different training opportunities for women every three months.
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