Windsor’s first female firefighter

Published 9:02 pm Saturday, September 20, 2008

For the tiny town of Windsor, most history was made centuries ago when people first settled there.

However, 16-year-old Jamie Manning made history recently when she became the first woman to join the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department.

“I started liking helping out people and wanted to make a difference for them,” Manning said.

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When she turned 15, she began talking to her uncle, Lt. Rick Bland of the Suffolk Department of Fire and Rescue. He advised her to start getting experience in a volunteer department as soon as she turned 16.

“He started giving me a bunch of details and advice,” Manning said.

When she finally was able to join the Windsor Volunteer Fire Department as a junior firefighter, she was told she is the first woman on the department.

“It means a lot,” Manning said. “You’re with a bunch of guys and you know that you’re the only female there, you get to go with them and get experience with them. It’s real exciting.”

Since Manning has not yet taken the basic firefighter course, she cannot go into a burning building. She will begin that class in January.

“I haven’t been on any real dangerous calls yet,” she said. “So far I’ve only had one call.”

That call was at Windsor Middle School, when a basketball triggered the alarm in the gymnasium. However, Manning already has started to prepare herself for the bad calls.

“I know that my calls I do get can be dangerous, and that there are going to be bad scenes,” she said. “I know I can’t really prepare myself for what I see.”

Overall, Manning said, it’s been rewarding to serve her town on the volunteer fire department.

“It’s real exciting to be in Windsor Volunteer Fire Department and help out your community,” she said. “It’s been a real challenge. It’s real exciting.”