Tooele City is making history with their first female firefighter in the 103 years history of the Tooele City Volunteer Fire Department.
Makensie McManigal began working at the volunteer department in August after being waitlisted for eight months, which is common with the department.
Coming from a family of firefighters, McManigal applied to become a firefighter because she wanted to follow in their footsteps and give back to her community that she loves.
“I wanted to help the community,” she said. “Firefighting has always been something that interested me.”
As a Tooele City firefighter, McManigal will be on call when she’s not working her other job or out of town.
“Our pagers let off a loud chime when there’s a call,” she explained. “It’s hard to get used to but it wakes you right up at night.”
Right now, McManigal is in training and is working on finishing classes needed to obtain her firefighter certification.
“Since I’m new, I’m learning how the trucks work and what’s on the trucks, like learning how to use everything, like the hoses,” she said.
During training, McManigal has gone on calls with other firefighters, observed and called to help when needed.
Training to become a firefighter can be challenging, according to McManigal.
“The equipment is very heavy,” she said. “It’s also challenging trying to memorize everything. There’s so much that goes into all of it.”
Her training will be complete in April 2023.
“I’ve enjoyed meeting everyone and everyone helping me during training,” McManigal said. “I’ve had a lot of fun times with a lot of fun people. I’ve gotten to know a lot of good people. I’ve also enjoyed learning everything and being able to go to calls.”
As her fulltime job, McManigal works at the Utah Motorsports Campus as an emergency medical technician. She recently finished her advanced EMT schooling.
“Whenever there are events there, we have two ambulances and one or two out on the [race] track, and we have our radios,” McManigal explained. “We respond to the calls on the track and we pick them up [the injured person] and take care of them. If it’s bad, we will take care of them in the ambulance on the track and transport them to our medical center… Sometimes we call a helicopter or Mountain West and have them transported to a hospital.”
Her EMT training will help her as a firefighter.
“My training will help when we have guys who come out of a fire who need help,” McManigal explained. “We have bags on the trucks that we can use to help take care of everybody. It will also help when there are car accidents.”
McManigal said she has always dreamed of becoming an EMT.
She graduated Stansbury High School in 2016 and has an associates degree in child development.
McManigal previously worked as a preschool teacher at the Kid’s Park in Overlake.
In her free time, McManigal enjoys attending concerts with her twin sister. They are particularly fond of rock music.
“It scares my mom,” McManigal laughed.
She also enjoys visiting the kids at the preschool, hanging out with her friends and family, and riding with drifters at the raceway.
In the future, McManigal plans to continue volunteering at the Tooele City Fire Department and to also obtain a paid job at another fire department as a firefighter paramedic.
McManigal wants to encourage young girls to follow their dreams, no matter the cost or work required, even in male-dominated fields.
“Just do what you want to do,” she said. “Don’t be afraid. Just because it’s a male-dominated job, doesn’t mean they’re not going to want you there…”
Her favorite quote was written by Muhammad Ali and reads: “Even the greatest was once a beginner. Don’t be afraid to take that first step.”
McManigal wants to thank John Curwen, Gary Coon, Keith Boarders at the department for their help in training.