Plano Firefighter is First Woman in Texas to Achieve Highest Search and Rescue Certification

Steph Bouillion-Mayer is the first in Texas and one of only three women in the world to hold an Urban Search and Rescue Specialist certification

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The Plano Fire-Rescue Urban Search and Rescue Team's Steph Bouillion-Mayer has a distinction in her field that she is hesitant to highlight.

"I'm proud of her and proud to be able to see the accomplishments coming together," Bouillion-Mayer's Urban Search and Rescue team member Anthony DiMarco said standing next to her and fellow USAR team members Wesley Holland and Jeremiah Grant.

Bouillion-Mayer recently completed hundreds of hours of extra training to achieve the highest certification as an Urban Search and Rescue Specialist.

"Third female in the world, first here in Texas. The other two are up in New Jersey," Bouillion-Mayer explained. "It's a small arena as it is. Less than 1% of the American fire service is female, and then you take that and you go to an even smaller arena of special rescue. There are just not that many girls in it."

"We're who firefighters call to come help," Holland said. "So we're beyond that rescue that's the bread and butter rescue. We're the crazy-type rescue."

The kind of rescue that might follow a tornado or building collapse.

Steph Bouillion-Mayer

Bouillion-Mayer said she always wanted to be in fire and rescue. The top certification has been her goal for nearly a decade.

"I think I bring the same skills and same ability that anybody does, no matter what their race, gender, ethnicity is," Bouillion-Mayer said. "If your heart is in it, you can do it. Don't let anyone tell you what you are or are not capable of."

The North Texas firefighter is a member of the department's urban search and rescue team.
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