In the state of New Hampshire, only 1% of all firefighters are female. Sadly, this is not uncommon. Between 2008 and 2012, the national average was only 3.8%. Recruitment for females and diversity training for males is a vital part of successfully increasing those percentages.
Based on my own experiences as a female firefighter, I am an active recruiter and champion for females who wish to become firefighters. I also find it very important to foster a support system, or “sisterhood” for the scant few female firefighters who are already passionate about and committed to their chosen career field.
An integral part of successful firefighting is teamwork. This can sometimes be challenging for females, as they may meet resistance to their presence on a team. Sometimes the biggest challenge is being accepted by all members of the crew. It takes strength of character, a thick skin, and absolute focus on your personal goals as a firefighter. None of these concepts are insurmountable.
If you would like to learn more about female firefighters or diversity training, contact me.
According to the US Fire Department website, the traditional role of firefighters has expanded to include a variety of duties and functions in addition to original responsibilities.
Traditional duties include the following:
a) Extinguishing, controlling fires
b) Prevention of loss of lives and property
c) Fire prevention
The additional new roles of firefighters now includes:
a) Disaster response
c) Environmental issues
Firefighters by tradition work in teams; this team is usually headed by a supervising officer known as either the chief fire officer or company officer. Unlike other professionals, firefighters work between 45 to 50 hours each week, this long work week distinguishes them from other professions. Such long hours mean that a fire officer is not necessarily guaranteed time off on public holidays or even the usual weekend.