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  1. #1
    dacia
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    Post Female Fire Fighter

    Well I recently turned in my paper work to volunteer at the station, but I have a slight complaint. Is it because I am a young female that I get the near brush off? I am only 5'5 and I don't look like some rugged chick, plus I am FEMALE so does that mean I just dont look like fire fighter material? I run 3 miles a day. I lift 3 days a week with the FOOTBALL team. I grew up with neighbor boys. It takes a lot for a girl to stick her foot in guys domain, but I would really like a little more respect. Just because I dont look tough doesnt mean that I am not. I get the feeling a girl has to look burly to get anywhere.


  2. #2
    JMP17
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Sister, you just gotta get in there and show.em what you got. There's plenty of jobs to be done on the fire ground. Firefighters come in all sizes, shapes and both genders, but it takes time to gain the trust.
    Give it your all and they'll come around.
    Stay SAFE and welcome to our world!
    JMP17

  3. #3
    FyredUp
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Dacia,

    There may indeed be that impression. You have a couple of choices. 1) When you get on the FD ask for nothing above what anyone else gets and prove to them you can do the job. At times it will mean you get the crap jobs, toilets and so on. But if you really want to do this just show them that you can.
    2) You can just walk away and not realize something you want to do. Not the best choice.

    You know this may be a chance for me to rant on something I've wondered about for quite a while. Why do people always say Female Firefighter? It isn't only you Dacia. On the job are you a female first or a firefighter first? Just imagine if every guy wanted to be called a Male Firefighter. I think this continues the divide by specifically pointing out a difference between Female Firefighters and Firefighters. When and if I need help I don't wonder whether that help is male or female, I just wonder if they know what they are doing!!

    Good luck with your FD career. If you really want it you should go for it with all your heart.

    Take care,

    FyredUp

  4. #4
    NCRSQ751
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Some people don't like new people - period. So it may not be your size or gender. Then again it may.

    Does it really matter? One thing I've learned is that everyone has to prove themselves before people want to go into a situation where they quite literally trust you with their life.

    With women sometimes it takes longer, sad but true. Debating the politics is not worth the energy.

    Just get in there, train as hard as you can, study, learn and train some more. You will gain respect by doing, not by talking.

    Best of luck and stick with it! The only one that can hold you back is you!

    ------------------
    Susan Bednar
    Captain - Forsyth Rescue
    North Carolina Strike Force 1

  5. #5
    Quint1Medic
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I'm with Fyred Up on that whole "make-sure-the-gender-gets-mentioned" issue. I have a reasonable amount of fire-related paraphernalia, but none of it is gender-specific. Those "Lady Firefighter" necklaces make me gag. On the other hand, I just went back to regular blue checks because the firefighter checks our CU offers, which used to have a neato scene of a firefighter silhouetted by a fire, now have a closeup face shot of some guy. I know the majority rules, and all, but I don't want him in my checkbook

    As far as Dacia goes, just expect to get hazed at first, and don't assume it's because you're female unless they make a point of it. From what you're saying, they won't be able to make much of a case for you being a weakling! Just suck it up and get in there, and they'll eventually stop. The only other things I would suggest are not not NOT dating people from your station (which will automatically get you labeled, and not with anything nice) and be ready to get talked about. See, firefighters gossip like a bunch of old women, and you'll be easier to target just 'cause you're easy to spot! Don't let that dissuade you, though. This is the best job in the world.

  6. #6
    Speedi120
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    here are some websites about women in the fire service
    www.geocities.com/fire8133/index.html
    www.geocities.com/Wellesley/4699
    www.wfsi.org

  7. #7
    apatrol
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Dacia,

    Welcome to the fire service. Honestly I use to be one of the "firefighters should be big tough men" types but learned several years ago this is a very poor attitude. 98% of the job we do requires more brain than muscle and you female types have plenty of brains and have a higher threshold to pain/endurance because of a little thing called child birth.

    One word of advise I would give and ask of my new female cadets is simply be one of the gang w/o regards to your sex and the men will include you that much quicker. what I mean is join our little games...IE went to the bar last night and drank six hundred beers... blah blah!!! Just dont lie about how many women you picked up...you would be hit on more than you can imagine then

    Good Luck

  8. #8
    Fireguy49
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    dacia,

    The hollywood image of big burly men is just that a HW image. Just act like everyother member and ask for no special favours and you'll do just great. There are always those in each department who make us all look bad. In my department we have 5 women and to be honest they do a better job than a lot of the guys who think they are the best. When your in bunker gear there are no males/females, there are firefighters.

    Good Luck

  9. #9
    Tentruck
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Dacia,

    I am writing under 10Truck's name. I too am a firefighter and a female. I am 5'1 and what I hate as described as petite. Size is not what gets the job done and you should not let that be your worry. I work with 10Truck and we are career firefighters as well as off duty volunteers in seperate stations. I am proud to be who I am even though I don't work out quite as much as you do. I don't like the term "female firefighter" due to the fact we all do the same job at work and don't need to be seperated by a different title. I am proud of who I work with and I can only hope my partners feel the same about me.

    Good luck to you in all your endevors and hang in there. If firefighting is something you really enjoy then make the best of it. You won't be the new member for long.

  10. #10
    Smoke286
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Hey non-male firefighter writing under Tentrucks name. I also have no problem with non-male firefighters, as long as they can do the job.I have seen some who cannot,but then I have seen some men who cant do it. I work with a female firefighter in my station, she can do any job I can including haul my butt out of there if I get into trouble.
    Herein lies my problem, If a guy comes in the job who is not suited to it, and we have all seen them I can say dude,you need to look for another line of work before you hurt yourself or somebody else(me springs to mind) But If I say that to a substandard female firefighter,well that is sexual harrasment. If we could get past that political correctness crap, I think we would all do fine

  11. #11
    Da Sharkie
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    The majority of firefighters I have worked with call adn career don't gare whether you're a male or a female. All we care about is that if we or another firefighter goes down, God forbid, you'll be there to pull us out. I know some female firefighters that put many men to shame in stamina and ability to do many aspects of the job.

    When it comes getting your stones busted I have known women who could snap it right back in the guys' face and then their treated just like anyone else. A lot of guys are old school but luckily they're coming up on retirment and I think you'll see a lot of the attitude dissapear.

    Anyway, Go for it, do your best , kick *** at it and screw them. They'll grow to like to you or hate just like they would to anybody else on the job.

    ------------------
    I didn't do it, nobody saw me do it. You can't prove anything.

  12. #12
    jj1967
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Dacia,
    Don't take it personally, most volunteer departments are very close knit, and stand offish with new members. (I know this because I move every two or three years and have been on five.) Its not necessarily a "oh she's a female" thing. I was lucky on my first department since I literally grew up in the station. All the other departments I had to prove myself. Just avoid politics (and every department has them), be yourself, try hard, ask questions and you'll be fine.

    Once they see you're serious about putting in an effort (and it helps if your friendly)they'll open up. Trust me it works.


  13. #13
    trumpeter75
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Dacia,

    We've got a JR FF, who's female, at our station and I'l tell you the same thing we tell her. Do what you're asked, do it well, ask questions, try to improve your performance, and give it your all. I can almost guarantee you'll wind up doing it better than some or your detractors. IF they have preconceptions about women in the fire service, prove them wrong by your actions.

    keep your chin up

  14. #14
    Lt. Wayne Burdett
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by trumpeter75:
    Dacia,

    We've got a JR FF, who's female, at our station and I'l tell you the same thing we tell her. Do what you're asked, do it well, ask questions, try to improve your performance, and give it your all. I can almost guarantee you'll wind up doing it better than some or your detractors. IF they have preconceptions about women in the fire service, prove them wrong by your actions.

    keep your chin up

  15. #15
    Lt. Wayne Burdett
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    dacia,
    welcome to the best job in the world. my advice to you is to just be yourself and don't try to hard to act like you've been thier for years. we had a new guy come on to our shift last year and he tried to act like he was not the new guy and really had us all wondering weather we liked him our not, but now that a yr has passed he is one of us and turned out to be a good hand. so if you do your job and do the crap details to which we have all had to do you will be fine.
    We are a combination dept. and also hired our first female firefighter last yr. She was hired about the time of our new guy, she seems to be working out very well as a matter of fact we wanted her on our shift instead of who we got. The best I can say about her is I would not be afraid to go into a burning building with her.
    So hang in there and good luck.
    Lt. Wayne Burdett

  16. #16
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    Default

    To HCTrouble,

    Thought this might be interesting reading for you.
    This string is from a year ago

    The more things change...the more they stay the same

  17. #17
    Senior Member hctrouble25's Avatar
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    Default

    Yep, and people still need Hooked on Phonics to help them with their reading comprehension. I understand why you sent this to me, and I am not yelling at you...just stating some facts. In my post I stated that I am a female fire fighter...and I wanted good and bad experiences that people had with females in the fire service. I did not ask for a debate on the use of the term "female fire fighter", nor did I ask for some of those replying to use sexual remarks about the only things women are good for at the firehouse. I asked a very very simple question, and in return I got a lot of heat, anger, and arguing. Yep I get it already...many people don't like the term "female fire fighter"...I don't care. I don't like being called a FireMan but that doesn't stop it. My department accepts me 100% for who I am and for the fact that I do my job....I was asking about issues other departments had and it got blown WAY out of proportion. Thanks for the info though. Take care.
    Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!

  18. #18
    MembersZone Subscriber Diane E's Avatar
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    Just think what "small people" are able to do -- confined space and crawling in the back seat of a hatchback to keep a patient stable!

    Don't give up!

  19. #19
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Florida
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    Default

    Lt. Burdette sums it up very well... Take his advice.

    If you are the only female or first female, you got a trail to cut...others will follow. Keep your head up...ask questions, watch, learn, listen and take as much training as possible... GOOD LUCK!

    My girlfriend is one of two females on a department here. I am damned proud of her and she has been on the job almost 13 years.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  20. #20
    Forum Member
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    Ok we have a couple of females on our dept.
    On if she came after me I would have to say no thanks let me die.
    The other I would go inside with no questions asked neither is that big, but one can do the job and no disrespect to the other she can't.
    Proud to be IACOJ Illinois Chapter--Deemed "Crustworthy" Jan, 2003

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