Carbondale Fire Department empowers women with its Badd Axe Ladies Program

March 25, 2023

The Carbondale Fire Department is hosting its second annual Badd Axe Ladies program on March 21, 24 and 25. Badd Axe Ladies will allow women to learn from women firefighters about what it means to be a firefighter and the work that goes into the profession.

Firefighters Courtney Looft and Abby Burnhamn said this event will not only teach women what firefighters go through in a day, but lets them see what other career opportunities are available.

“There’s not really a good way for women to approach it or try to get involved with the fire service. Most of them don’t even think of [firefighting] as something that they can do,” Looft said. “So we wanted to start this program, show them what firefighting is about.”


Looft said her father being a firefighter for 27 years influenced her to join the career field and hopefully this program will get more women to think about joining the firefighting profession.

Burnham said, “The fire service is still a very male dominated field and for a lot of young ladies and women it can be intimidating walking into a male dominated field that you don’t typically see a lot of women doing. So we kind of wanted to give them a chance to come in and see us doing the job.”

The event will be split up into three days. March 21 and 24 will be shadow days. They will be held at the Carbondale Fire Station. The shadow days will offer women a chance to follow firefighters Looft and Bunham and see what a normal day looks like for firefighters.

The Skills Day on March 25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. will be held at the regional training facility. Throughout the day, people will be able to see what skills firefighters use during calls.

“This year we expanded the program to, not just the community, but to college and high school students as well, to allow them to see what other career options are available,” Looft said.

She said the event is overall empowering for young women to go after things they don’t traditionally go for.

“Firefighting is one thing, but you can also maybe hopefully show them that they can go after like, be a police officer or just anything just like [that] we want young women to go beyond what they feel like they can accomplish,” Looft said.


Staff reporter Janiyah Gaston can be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram @janiyah_reports. To stay up to date with all your Southern Illinois News follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.


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