Women join Shelby’s firefighters
by Paisley Boston
Mar 30, 2014 | 8692 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Look out boys, two new women have been added to the ranks of the county’s volunteer firefighters force.

Dorothy Cleveland and Jarlicia Scott, both of Shelby, have joined Shelby's Volunteer Fire Department.

Cleveland, 33, is employed by Life Help Region Six in Duncan and Scott is a 24-year-old student, who aspires to be an Emergency Medical Technician.

Both women have their personal reasons for becoming volunteer firefighters but they share a common goal and that goal is to break down stereotypes about women firefighters.

Cleveland said she is ready to take on the challenge.

"Based on what I have seen, it is nothing hard. I am so ready for my first fire," said Scott.

Shelby Fire Chief Eugene Daniels said he is happy to have the women "on board" and knows that they will do an excellent job.

"It has been almost 18 years since we had a woman firefighter. The last set of women that we had were tough – they could really hold their own and I think Cleveland and Scott will do the same. I look forward to working with them," added Daniels.

Both women said they chose to become volunteer firefighters because they wanted to make a difference in their community.

"We have a very small group of volunteers and most of them are older. I think our volunteer fire department could use a few women," said Scott.

"Some people do not want to become volunteer firefighters because it is not a paid position but to me being able to help people in my community is a reward within it self," she added.

Cleveland said she is excited to be a part of such a worthy organization and she is more than happy to serve her community.

"When I was notified that I was chosen to be a firefighter, I was very excited – I told everyone that I knew," said Cleveland.

"I was notified by the fire chief that I had been selected to serve as a volunteer firefighter. Before I was selected, the thought of me being a firefighter was good but once I received the position, I did get a little nervous," continued Cleveland.

Although both women desire to contribute to the community, Scott said she also joined the department because of her ambition to make surreal television events into realities.

"I often sit down and watch things on television. I know that the events are not real. Sure there are a lot of women that appear on television and act as heroes but it is not real. I want to be a real hero," added Scott.

"It feels really good to be a part of something that actually benefits others and could possibly save lives," she continued.

Before Scott and Cleveland can official assume their duties as volunteer firefighters, they must first attend training in Pearl.

After Scott and Cleveland complete their training, they will be allowed to operate the hose until they are ready to take on fires.

"As a firefighter, I just ask want to be respected because I joined the team to fight fires. Once we put on that suit and helmet, we all look the same," she added.

Cleveland said she has aspired to become a firefighter for quite some time and when she filled out the necessary paper work to become one, she was excited.

"I told everyone that I knew. I did have some people to tell me that I could not do it but I will prove them wrong," she added.

"I just started and I have not put out any fires yet but I am anxious to do so. I want to encourage other women to become firefighters as well," said Cleveland.

Scott said she hopes that she is an inspiration to other young women who want to become firefighters.

"If I can do it, anyone can do it. I just want to encourage individuals to get involved and become active in their community," she added.

As of now, both women are attending the regularly scheduled meetings that are designed to educate them on basic strategies, techniques and guidelines.