Hailey Dorn of Roslyn grew up surrounded by firefighters, watching her father, her uncle and her great-grandfather race off to help the Roslyn Highlands Volunteer Fire Company at all hours.
“Growing up, I was always at a firehouse event, whether it was the picnic or open house, I was always around it,” Dorn said. “We would be at dinner, and my dad would have to go to a call. It was just always incorporated in my life.”
A National Fire Protection Association study in 2016 said only about 7 percent of volunteer and career firefighters in the United States are female, but the statistic did not stop Dorn from joining the department in August 2016 as a volunteer firefighter and ambulance observer.
“One of the big reasons I joined is because it was very rare, but I knew I could do it as well as anyone else,” Dorn said. “People are very surprised when they find out I’m a volunteer firefighter. They often ask, ‘What do you do?’ and I say, ‘The same exact thing everyone else does.'”
Dorn, a freshman at Adelphi University studying exercise science and physical therapy, said she hopes to become a credentialed emergency medical technician.
“I do enjoy them both equally, and it’s definitely something that I enjoy doing and don’t get tired of it,” Dorn said.
The firefighter family tree began with Dorn’s great-grandfather Charles Sadler with the South Hempstead Fire Department before his death in 2009.
Dorn’s grandmother Jeanne Dorn serves as a secretary for the Roslyn Highlands Volunteer Fire Company, and Dorn’s uncle David Nemake and her father, Andrew Dorn, are both Roslyn Highlands volunteers.
Dorn said her job is all about knowing the procedure when the firehouse gets a carbon monoxide alarm call and thinking on her feet during a house fire instead of being defined by her gender.
“I love what I do, and women can do just as much as men,” Dorn said. “A lot of people nowadays think women can’t do as much things as men and there are ‘men’s jobs and women’s jobs.’ I like to show that, yes, I do this, and no, it’s not just a man’s job.”