Home Fire Fighting Articles “It’s Amazing to be a Woman in the Fire Service”

“It’s Amazing to be a Woman in the Fire Service”

by IvyFPS
“It’s Amazing to be a Woman in the Fire Service”


March was Women’s History Month, and we wanted to take this opportunity to spotlight the past, present, and future of women in America’s fire service.

From the first women firefighters of the 19th century to the nearly 90,000 women protecting their communities today, there’s no history of firefighting without the history of women in the fire service.

And what better way to tell the continuing story of these courageous women than through a conversation with a current firefighter serving her community in Texas.

Meet Shantel Lund.

She’s a firefighter for the Port of Houston, a competitive CrossFit athlete, and a 2023 Firefighter Challenge winner.

Often called the “toughest two minutes in sports,” the Challenge is an obstacle course modeled on real-life firefighting conditions, featuring a stair climb, dummy rescue, and hose hoist. The Challenge is designed as a season of events with regional championships, nationals, and a world championship, and LION is proud once again to be a primary sponsor of this year’s season.

Last year, Shantel was the U.S. national champion in the Under 40 Female Individual Category—and set a team national record in the Under Age 40 Female Tandem Category with Taylor Ward of the Murray City Fire Department. In 2024, Shantel has her eyes set on shattering the world record.

She’s also a member of the LION’s Den, a special distinction for Firefighter Challenge competitors who complete the course under a set time.

We wanted to know more about Shantel and her journey, so we recently sat down with her and talked about her background, women in the fire service, the Firefighter Challenge, and how fitness plays a key role in her training.

Interview has been edited for length and style.

LION: Could you give us a quick background on your journey into firefighting?

Shantel: I went through the West Metro Fire Academy in Colorado. I worked for a gold mine when I graduated high school and did some mine rescue, and after that I ended up going full-time at a department here in Houston. And I’ve been doing that for about four years now, and that’s kind of how I got into the firefighting world of things.

LION: Can you tell us about your Firefighter Challenge experience?

Shantel: Last year was my rookie year, which is what everybody calls it when you first start. My chief brought it up to our department last January, asking if anybody was interested in going to the Firefighter Challenge. I had interest in doing it mainly because I’m a competitive CrossFitter, and so I thought it would be kind of fun to get into a competitive firefighting challenge.

LION: How would you say the Firefighter Challenge has helped you with being in the fire service?

Shantel: I would say that, fitness wise it’s helped me 100%. I find myself training 10 times harder. And then not only just training but training for the job specifically. I find myself more specifically working out areas to improve in the Firefighter Challenge, which relates to our jobs. So whether it is picking up a dummy at work and practicing with the dummy drag or hitting the Keiser sled which is simulating, you know, roof cuts…or working on stair climbs.

LION: What would you like for people to know about women firefighters?

Shantel: It’s amazing to be a woman in the fire service. But I also believe that women have to put in the same exact work as anybody else. We have to pull our own weight and that means staying physically fit for this job. Staying fit in the fire service is one of the most important things that you can do, because it’s something that we can control.

LION: Lastly, what would you say to other women firefighters considering the Firefighter Challenge?

Shantel: Definitely do it, because it helps with your confidence. I remember standing out there my very first time, getting ready to go. And I was so nervous and thought, What am I doing? Should I be doing this? And I think it’s cool to do things when you’re scared. Also, it helps push us to make us stronger. So go head first, and just do something that scares you, because you never know what could come out of it.

We’re grateful to Shantel for taking the time to talk to us! Keep an eye out for her during the 2024 Firefighter Challenge season, because we strongly suspect we’ll see some new records!

Hayley Tincu, Vice President, Marketing & Customer Experience, LION

For more information and women-inclusive products, visit LION’s website.

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