Over the years, I have read some pretty heinous stuff that firefighters have put their supposed “Sister” firefighters through. Examples can be found if you search for them. I am not going to share any particular incidents. Many of these incidents have been career enders and/or demotions for those involved.
Every time I read about a female firefighter being treated unfairly in the firehouse I cringe. I simply cannot stand it.
I have heard from women who are firefighters over the years who look for assistance in their departments due to situations they have been put in simply because they are women. I often offer my thoughts with the understanding that I do not have both sides of the story, yet I feel it is best to offer some ideas of finding solutions.
The other day, I sat down to write this article and imagined a very long article. I had many thoughts I wanted to write. Today, I finally have a chance to sit down and put my thoughts on the computer…it was clearer thinking and I realized that it would be more simple and to the point.
Your “Sister” firefighters should be treated as such. Whether you are paid, volunteer, or paid on call…Whether you are a firefighter, hold rank, or are a Fire Chief.
I guess I look at it like this…
What if my wife were a firefighter? What about my mother? What about my sister? What about my daughter? How would I want them to be treated?
That doesn’t mean that everyone has to be best friends. We are a family…some of us get along better with others. I get that.
If you read about women firefighters who have been treated unfairly, hatefully, and even resulted in criminal charges you will find that most have a common thread…”sexual harassment”. Check out this article if you would like to see examples.
I know firefighters…You don’t mess with their family. So then, why is it so easy for some to treat female firefighters so badly. I think this may bother me so much is because we have a woman on our crew. She is treated like the rest of us firefighters. We all get a long, have a good time, and get the job done. I cannot imagine what it would be like if my crew were treating her badly because she is a woman. I can tell you, I would not stand for it.
Let us be clear though. I am not saying EVERY woman has what it takes to be a firefighter…just as every man does not. I leave that up to our testing procedures for hiring recruits. I trust that our department will only hire those able and willing to be firefighters. I cannot control the process. I can control how our firefighters are treated…starting with me.