They were everyday local women who stepped up to fill a need from the 1950s to 1980s. Known as the “Ladies in White” or “Angels in White” for their white overalls and feminine touch, these women served as the pioneering first responders of the area, before Sacramento County began paying emergency medical responders.
Now, nearly 70 years after the first ladies took to the streets, the Citrus Heights History and Arts Commission has produced a commemorative documentary, seeking to preserve a piece of history and show a glimpse of what it was like to be a Lady in White. The video is set to premiere during a one-hour event at the Citrus Heights community center on Oct. 20, at 7 p.m.
According to a news release about the documentary, the film features interviews with former Ladies in White and also touches on the “Ladies Auxiliary,” a team of female firefighters formed in 1942 after many men left for military service during World War II.
The Ladies were based out of the central Citrus Heights fire station near San Juan High School, but to shorten response times, many responded directly from their homes. They also provided their own medical kits and drove their own cars — with the exception of “Rescue One,” a 1953 Pontiac purchased by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors for $2100 and donated to the fire district.
According to a small booklet produced by the History and Arts Commission about the Ladies, the all-female volunteer team responded to an average of 550 calls per year, while raising families and working full-time jobs. Their tasks included delivering babies, splinting compound fractures, and resuscitating those who had stopped breathing.
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One Lady in White reportedly would respond to emergency calls in a white Volkswagen Beetle, sometimes with two of her young children in the back seat while she attended to the injured. A cardboard sign on her car’s dashboard let police and fire officials know she was there serving “in an official capacity.”
Tickets for the documentary are $10 and can be purchased at the door, or at city hall during normal business hours. They can also be purchased online by searching for “Ladies to the Rescue” at eventbrite.com. Organizers say popcorn, snacks, and drinks will be provided.
If you plan to go:
‘Ladies To The Rescue’ movie premiere
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016
Where: Citrus Heights Community Center
6300 Fountain Square Dr., Citrus Heights
Those seeking more information are invited to contact Haley Reid at (916) 727-4732, or firstname.lastname@example.org.