Conway Fire Department hires its first female firefighter - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Conway Fire Department hires its first female firefighter

Making the force depends on testing results and training, areas in which their newest hire, Darcie Shotts excelled. (Source: Mary Gagliardi). Making the force depends on testing results and training, areas in which their newest hire, Darcie Shotts excelled. (Source: Mary Gagliardi).

CONWAY, SC (WMBF)- Less than 4% of our nation's firefighters are women, and more than half of paid fire departments have never hired a female firefighter.

While the Conway Fire Department has had three female volunteers since 1999, and other women have applied for the full-time position – they did not make the cut. Making the force depends on testing results and training, areas in which their newest hire, Darcie Shotts excelled.

"She went through a hiring process, the same process we have for everyone, and at the end of the process she was a high-scoring candidate which is why we gave her the opportunity to join our family,” explained Conway Assistant Fire Chief, Jeremy Carter.

According to Assistant Chief Carter, Shotts was not only one of the highest scoring candidates, but one of the most determined. Darcie stresses that no matter your gender, a firefighter is a firefighter. “I'm here to do the same job as they are. I may have to work a little harder at it, but as long as I get the job done. If I want something, I'm going to fight for it till {sic} I get it, and I'm going to be the best I can at it," Shotts said.

The firefighters refer to each other as family at this department, and that close-knit mentality is a perfect fit for Shotts. “I love it here. I'm happy. The fire department is like family. I don't have close ties with my family so, they are my family,” she added.

While firefighting wasn't originally her dream, Shotts discovered quickly it is where she belongs. She describes it not as a career, but a lifestyle.

“I love doing this. This is what I want to do, and I've been trying to get to this point for a little over a year and a half now. I'm just glad I made it finally. Initially, I wanted to get into the EMS side of things, but was encouraged to test for the fire department and join the volunteers, and as soon as I started it I knew it is exactly where I wanted to be,” Shotts explained. 

When she is not working at the Conway Fire Department, Darcie also volunteers at the Horry County Fire Department.

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