Three dynamic women who have staked out successful careers in the rescue industry will inspire your female students to explore new career pathways.
Female role models help get this career on the radar of women and girls because they’re able to see someone who looks like them on the job. This video reveals the personal experiences and insights of successful women working in this field.
Rescue and related industries employ millions of people. Increasing numbers of women are establishing rewarding careers in the traditionally male-dominated rescue field.
Career Options for Women -- Rescue:
This 24-minute video features profiles of three women with successful careers in rescue:
- Danielle Gagnon, a paramedic in Montreal’s emergency medical service
- Julie De Grandpre, a rescue diver in the Coast Guard
- Pamela Kryskow, a firefighter with experience in a wide variety of emergencies
Additional information from co-workers and supervisors supplements each job profile.
Meet the role models featured in the Rescue video:
Danielle Gagnon was working as a lifeguard when a little four-year girl suffered a respiratory arrest. As she watched the paramedics work on the child, Danielle knew then what she wanted to do. Danielle is a paramedic. She gives pre-hospital care for the people who call 911 and transports them to the hospital. She currently works nights (10pm - 7am). Danielle has a diploma in nursing and is certified as an ambulance technician at Ahunsic (north of Montreal). Although she used to work as a nurse, she felt that her life in the hospital was not allowing her to achieve her goals.
The job appeals to Danielle because it involves taking care of people and saving lives. It's an interesting job and there is a place for women in it. However, she stresses that it is physically demanding. Danielle has to lift patients in stretchers up and down stairs and in and out of the ambulance. She believes she can do her job even if she has children, but would have to adjust her schedule. She says, “You can get burned out on the job.” Danielle advises that it helps to separate work from home.
Danielle has never had problems working amongst the male paramedics and believes she won't as long as she is strong physically and can back up her partner. The most rewarding aspect of being a paramedic: “Taking care of people and saving lives!”
Danielle was working as a lifeguard when a little four-year girl suffered a respiratory arrest. As she watched the paramedics work on the child, Danielle knew then what she wanted to do.
Julie: Rescue Specialist/Diver
Julie De Grandpre works for the Canadian Coast Guard/Hovercraft Unit as a Rescue Specialist/Diver. Her duties include everything from surface swimming to diving on a car, plane or boat wreck. Right now, she is qualified as a surface swimmer and bridge lookout. She is also nearly finished her training as a rescue diver. The particular Coast Guard base that she is working at is the busiest search and rescue unit in the country.
Julie has always lived on boats (her dad was a fisherman), so it was natural to want to work on a boat. It's the freedom of working outdoors and she loves the ocean. Knowing that she is part of a part of team that can save lives is a great reward for her. One of the benefits of the Coast Guard is the excellent on-the-job training. Even after Julie was hired, she was able to continue her education. Julie advises that you find out about the industry if you are interested in her type of job. She works on six-month contracts only, meaning her job position is renewed every 6 months. To turn down a placement, says Julie, would likely mean the end of your contract.
Julie works four days on and four days off. The day shifts are 10 hours and nights are 14 hours. “It's a fantastic career with many different avenues. If you enjoy working on the water, it's probably the job for you.”
Pamela Kryskow is a professional firefighter. As a firefighter, she attends emergencies such as fires, medical emergencies, high angle rescues, swift water rescues, confined space rescue, and vehicle accidents. Firefighters work four shifts on and four shifts off. The first two are 10-hour day shifts. The second two are 14-hour night shifts. This is a perfect job for anyone wanting to start a family, as one would have six out of every eight days off.
“There would be more women doing this I think if they knew this was a career option. This is a great job for women that want to stay strong and fit their whole life. The time off is great allowing one to pursue all sorts of other activities.”
For the most part, the job is not as physically demanding as Pamela's previous job as a forestry fire fighter was. Pamela enjoys her work. Her coworkers are great and occasionally she feels rewarded when she gets to do something that really makes a difference to someone in the public. In addition to responding to fires and vehicle accidents, Pam is also trained for rescue in confined space, swift water, and high angle. There's always excitement on this job, along with excellent pay and benefits.
Run time: 24 minutes total, including three segments of approximately 8 minutes each.
Format: DVD. Closed-captioned.
Note: Videos are interspersed with Canadian salary and labor statistics, which are similar to the numbers in the United States.
Policies: There is a no-return policy on these videos.
Grade level: Middle School, High School, Two-Year College, Four-Year University