If you tell Elizabeth Schew she can’t do something because she’s a woman, she’ll take great pleasure in proving you wrong. It took someone in high school dismissing her interest in volunteering with Berwyn Fire Company because of her gender to motivate Schew to go ahead and do it. That decision to join during her junior and senior years at Conestoga High School and then at the local firehouse near the University of New Haven, where she went to college, led her to make a career out of the fire service. She graduated with degrees in fire/arson investigation and fire service administration.
Currently, Schew is the first female assistant chief fire marshal for the Chester County Department of Emergency Services. Her role involves fire origin and cause investigation, along with creating fire prevention programs and education. “I really enjoy that I get to help people understand why fires and tragedies happen,” says Schew. “Fires are devastating to families, and knowing that I can explain why things happen and try to prevent them is my career goal.”