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Meet Jennifer Jesty

Jennifer Jesty’s list of accomplishments is long. As well as being the first aboriginal woman to become a member of the Nova Scotia Firefighter’s Association, she was also the first aboriginal woman to graduate from the Center for Emergency Medicine Paramedic Program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Jennifer is the first Canadian appointed to the International Association for Women in Fire and Emergency Services’ Board of Trustees and the first aboriginal Canadian to be appointed to the Advisory Board for the International Fire Relief Mission.

Firsts are nothing new for Jen, but as the list grows longer, she remains focused on what’s key.

“All my accomplishments are fulfilling,” says Jesty, “but remaining humble and remembering where you come from is important; remembering that your purpose is to serve people.”

As a 17-year-old, Jesty got her first experience in emergency services while participating in a ride-along program with her local RCMP detachment in North Sydney, Nova Scotia. Designated as a peace officer, Jesty had the opportunity to visit crime and fire scenes and take part in actual investigations. At one fire scene, Jesty was asked to participate with Rescue One, a volunteer ambulance service. After her first experience in the back of an ambulance, Jesty says there was no question that this was what she was meant to do with the rest of her life.

Deciding on the paramedic program at the Centre for Emergency Medicine in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jesty realized she required more experience to ensure acceptance into the nine-month course. Signing-up as a volunteer firefighter at the North Sydney Fire station, Jesty then spent four years fighting fires, learning how to use the Jaws of Life, and building her experience in emergency situations before she began paramedic classes in 2009.

“In Canada, firefighters, paramedics, and police are all separate entities, but in the United States, fire and EMS, tend to work out of the same station, which is why the firefighting experience was helpful on my application to the paramedicine program,” Jesty explains. “But regardless of where you are, when someone needs helps, you are viewed as the rescuer no matter what uniform you are wearing.”

Currently, Jesty is volunteering her time as Ambassador to Africa for the International Fire Relief Mission, a program that accepts donations of used but serviceable firefighting (and EMS) equipment and donates it to stations in third world countries. Jesty hopes to venture out on her first mission with the organization next year where she will billet with a local family and teach their local firefighters how to use their new equipment.

Techsploration is proud to have Jennifer Jesty as one of our role models; her time and contributions to the program are immeasurable as her career continues to inspire and motivate young women.