Supported by Community Living Kingston and District, Emily is the third generation of her family to join Howe Island Fire and Rescue in the Township of Frontenac Islands. She enjoys her position “Because people trust me a lot, I’m very helpful, and I’m good with people.”
Emily became a junior member in March of 2016 and a full member of the department when she turned 18, and now serves a variety of roles when responding to emergencies. As a runner during medical calls, she collects any needed supplies, and she also operates tankers and hoses when there is a fire. At a recent call, she was responsible for pumping 52,000 gallons of water into the blaze.
When someone’s house was on fire two months ago, “The heat was very hot. I had to back up tankers—you have to just be careful of not getting hurt,” said Wood-Quinn.
On Monday, July 16th, she was the runner on hand when someone’s lawnmower had flipped over on top of them.
These incidents don’t always turn out well, but Lisa Wood, Emily’s mom, said her daughter takes them in stride.
“She’s been to two different incidents where the person didn’t survive, and she’s handled that quite well. Her sister couldn’t sleep, but she was the opposite.”
Besides her sister and herself, Emily’s grandfather, father, two uncles, and two cousins have all been with the department. Her grandfather was the Fire Chief, while her father is currently the Deputy Fire Chief.
“Since Emily’s been born,” Lisa explained, “it was ingrained in her to listen to [her father’s] pager…when she was little, she’d be listening to the scanner and wanting to know what was going on at calls.”
“From the first time she’d seen a big structure fire over here, where it lit up the whole sky years ago, she was interested. She said ‘Someday, I’m going to be doing that helping.’”
The fire department has been glad to have her, she believes. There are four women on the team, “and we’re all treated the same…It’s not ‘the old boys’ club’ anymore.”
As a result of her training with the fire department, Emily has received her boater’s card and training in both first aid and CPR. She also recently helped with fundraising to purchase a fire boat.
Emily has chosen to remain in high school for the time being in Holy Cross Secondary School’s 18 to 21 program. Afterwards, she hopes to become a hairstylist, though she also plans to keep the firefighting flowing through her blood for a good, long time.
Daniel Share-Strom, Community Living Ontario