Sioux Falls Fire Rescue gets new captain

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Firefighting tends to be a male-dominated field, but one Sioux Falls woman is showing that it's a job that anyone can do and be successful at.

Rachel Van Beek was promoted to the position of captain and started Monday. She’s been with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue for nine years.

“It's a fast-paced career. I liked that. I liked that nothing was going to be the same every day. It's got a good schedule, good people. You're doing a good thing for the community and everybody involved,” said Van Beek.

She worked up the ranks, eventually becoming a fire captain.

"Very, very critical position for our department. When there's a scene, they'll be first on scene and will make those initial decisions of what to do. So it can really make or break an incident,” said Fire Rescue Chief Brad Goodroad.

In this position, she will now be in charge of other people.

"I think it's one of the best places in the department to make the greatest change and have the greatest leadership role,” said Van Beek.

Getting this job was no easy task.

“It's a pretty intense process, pretty long process. So to be done and be this far is a really good feeling,” said Van Beek.

She had to take a written test, go through a simulated incident, and do an interview. All are scored. She ranked number one.

Rachel is only one of five women currently on the force.

"If we had more, I think it'd be a great representation of our community and for our department. Just to help with things that are probably overlooked because there's not a female there that sees things differently than what they do,” said Van Beek.

She wants to encourage more women to get involved with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue.

"I don't think they think it's a career for them. They usually get intimidated by the physical aspect, which is something they shouldn’t be intimidated by because I think a lot of women are stronger than what they give themselves credit for,” said Van Beek.

She hopes that her new position can inspire others.

"I hope they can look and see that you know, it's possible if they really want it. It just takes hard work, determination and if you want to do it, anything is possible for you,” said Van Beek.

Rachel is only the second woman to hold a captain position with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue.