The program, which began in 2014, offers EMT certification training to students at Frederick Douglass High School and Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy, said Samuel Johnson, a Fire Department spokesman. This fall, the program will expand to Paul Laurence Dunbar and Patterson high schools.
After participants receive their certification and graduate from high school, Johnson said, the department hires them as EMT trainees and pays them to spend a year taking classes at the fire academy in Northeast Baltimore and accompanying firefighters and medics on the job.
Mclean and three others are the first through the program. They plan to complete it this fall and will then be promoted to the rank of EMT-firefighter.
Mclean was drawn to the program, she said, by a lifelong ambition to help those in need and by a desire to challenge gender stereotypes.
"When you're younger, they teach you 'fireman,' they don't ever teach you 'firewoman,'" Mclean said. "I want to prove that women can be strong enough to be on a firetruck."