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Women in The Fire Service…The Way I See it

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.

woman firefightersI say again…How would you like your wife, mother, sister, or daughter to be treated if they were a firefighter?

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.

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