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by Jude Jacob Kayton March 26, 2019 1 Comment
My name is Presley Pritchard, I’m 26 and I live in Montana. I’m a firefighter, paramedic, and fitness influencer on Instagram. I find time for fitness, health and working out while looking after my two daughters aged 4 & 5.
I’ve always been a soccer player, I grew up in a soccer academy and ran a lot. I got pregnant with my first daughter when I was 19 and had a lot of complications. I was put on bedrest but continued running (with her in a stroller!) after she was born. Seven months later I got pregnant with my second daughter and had more complications that stopped me working out.
After she was born I split with my partner and the gym became my place to let out anxiety and stress. Basically, I fell in love with fitness and started working out 4 to 5 times a week and weight lifting. And once you see your body changing in a positive way exercise becomes addicting. It was useful for my job too because it involves a lot of heavy lifting and physical exertion, which was hard to do when I was tiny.
I had a lot of passion when I was little; my dad was a volunteer firefighter and I used to go to the fire department as a kid. I also spent a lot of time around law enforcement, as most of my family works in public services. So it was pretty natural that in high school I wanted to be a police officer. I wanted to do ride alongs, and asked if they had internships, but in Montana there was
nothing, so i went to the fire department.
The fire department decided to let me launch and lead a new “Explorer Program” and I began doing ride alongs. I was 16. At the time I was also studying. In my junior year of high school, I took an EMT class after soccer practice in the evenings. Then, in my senior year after high school, I took anatomy and physiology classes after soccer practice. My days would finish really
late. Once I graduated I received my EMT license and went straight into the paramedic program. So I was firefighting from age 16 and was a fully qualified paramedic a few years later.
Last summer I was sitting in the watch room when a young man started having a massive heart attack in our parking lot. I started treating him and got him to the hospital fast. He died a few times right there but they kept reviving him – and he survived. The incident is one that happens every day; it’s our job. But I remember this man clearly because afterward he and his wife came to the fire station to say thank you.
I was away when they came by so they left me an incredibly moving card. I thought that chapter was closed but a while later, I was at a women’s conference in church, and a woman came up and hugged me and started crying. It was an amazing moment and made me appreciate how you can meet people in such crazy ways and completely change their life. You are with people on the worst day of their life: you get to be a part of it, and a lot of people can’t handle it, but personally, I love it. I really believe everyone has their own gifts and strengths and that I was meant to do the work I’m doing and impact people in their lives.
It’s tough having a full-time job and also being an influencer. So, I decided to bring my day job to Instagram. And, while there are a lot of women who need this kind of a role model, there are people who don’t want to see women in a “man’s field”. People have even called my fire department to say they were offended by provocative pictures, pictures where I’m just standing in an ambulance and doing my job. There is still so much sexism, and there are so many women who have sent me their stories.
I’m proud to speak up about being a female firefighter. I know my rights and when I’m told to be quiet, I speak louder! On my Instagram, my caption is always inspirational and filled with meaning; I’m never unprofessional. I’ve been through a lot of controversy and hardship for my pictures and at times I've wanted to quit, but there are so many girls who need a positive role model so I’m sticking with it.
FRÉ originally emailed me to try their DETOX ME mask. Well, I sweat a lot when I’m firefighting, and I used the mask and fell in love with it. But it’s not just the products that matter – I fell in love with their values – empowering women, planting trees, and supporting women’s cooperatives.
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