Thread: Women in the Firehouse
06-17-2001, 06:28 PM #76NozzleHogFirehouse.com Guest
Sonny & Truckman:
Couldn't have said it better myself.
The real issue with women in the fire service is physical ability, or the lack thereof, to do the job. That is and always will be the problem. Here's a newsflash for all the liberals and anyone who might have just watched "GI Jane" - men and women really are different. Plain and simple, the vast majority of females can't physically perform tasks requiring upper body strength as well as a below average male. (Sorry ladies, it's really not about you not having a certain body part.) Here's another newsflash - firefighting really is physically demanding work that requires upper body strength.
Maybe it's supposed to be a big secret that most departments have either lowered or done away with physical ability standards to accomodate the hiring of women? How is that acceptable? Why is it tolerated, even embraced in some circles? I can think of a few reasons: the liberal media, political "correctness" and spineless "leadership." The bottom line is it stinks and it can cost lives.
For all those females who are so sure of their acceptance in this job, consider this: In todays liberal, anything goes, increasingly litigous society, few guys with any smarts will come out and say you are weak, incompetent or physically unable to do the job. The P.C. police would drag him off to EEO court and he'd be facing charges for making your workplace a "hostile environment." But fire doesn't care about political correctness, it has no sympathy, it does not care if you are weak, it does not "cut you some slack" because you have a pretty smile and it does not lower the standards to accomodate your gender.
06-17-2001, 10:53 PM #77GritFirehouse.com Guest
20+ years ago this was news.
Now the females are bringin' their mothers around, and I'm kind diggin it.
06-17-2001, 10:55 PM #78GritFirehouse.com Guest
HC why no email address on your profile? email me for stories..........
06-18-2001, 12:00 AM #79bgfdchickFirehouse.com Guest
Sonny et al-
Actually, you're quite wrong about my drive to be in the fire service. I don't get off on being female, but I do take pride in my abilites - especially when someone who doesn't even know me tells me I can't do something.
I know that anatomically I have several disadvantages against male firefighters - its inherent in our gender, and I'm cool with that. However, at team is all about everyone putting their best foot forward to produce a stellar overall entity. Last I heard, firefighting is a group effort. It seems that some people forget that - and not only in the fire service.
I train hard, work out hard, so I can be a better firefighter and a better asset to my team. I took the same physical ability test as every other firefighter in my department. I know that upper body strength is not my natural asset - so I train hard at the gym. There are some things I can't do as well as my fellow firefighters. But my smaller frame and weight is an asset when it comes to weaker structures and confined spaces.
I take no pride in being a "female firefighter"...I take pride in being part of a great department that trains hard and affords so many opportunities and services to our community. Which is why I joined the fire department in the first place (hell, it aint for the money).
Like I said, I accept your opinion...I was just giving mine.
[This message has been edited by bgfdchick (edited 06-18-2001).]
06-18-2001, 05:06 AM #80Break-N-EntryFirehouse.com Guest
Must be some sort of Twilight Zone time warp out in hctrouble25's area if women in the fire service is the newest "craze" there.
I guess they're wearing Nehru jackets, driving VW busses with flowers painted all over the sides, giving peace signs, and planning another anti-war or earth day rally.
"Wow Baby! Female firefighters ...... what a groovy idea!"
Burn them bras and draft cards!
I now return you to the present.
06-18-2001, 09:36 AM #81NCRSQ751Firehouse.com Guest
I think that there is a serious inability to stick to the point in this forum. It has degraded into personal attacks on both sides.
Everyone does indeed have a right to their opinion, however I would prefer it be based on actual experiences and fact, some seem to be based on predjudices and/or defensiveness.
Any decent and intelligent firefighter (regardless of gender) will agree that the standards, mental and physical should be the same for all. No one gets lighter in a fire because their partner (again regardless of gender) cannot lift their weight.
Any decent and intelligent firefighter will also tell you that if a firefighter can do the job (all aspects of it) that they should be treated with the respect that they have earned by doing that job.
There are firefighters of both genders that are on the job and not physically capable of it, we all know that if we are honest about it. There are firefighters that are overweight or underweight, weak or just lazy and regardless of gender we don't want them backing us up.
There are also firefighters on the job that are entirely capable of the job and are not given the chance or the respect they deserve because of gender, race, religion, or frankly the wrong family name!
The original question was merely a request for experiences, not for a harsh debate on whether a particular group of firefighters should exist. Until someone waves a magic wand and makes everyone 'do the right thing' there will always be people on the job that can't do it the way they should, the ONLY category they ALL fall into is 'incompetent'. Lets remember that.
Forsyth Rescue Squad (Chief)
Griffith Volunteer FD
06-18-2001, 09:39 AM #82Sonny SampsonFirehouse.com Guest
It would disrespectful to the 3 FDNY members that lost their lives and to their family to comment on this subject for a while.
06-18-2001, 10:05 AM #83ddvfdFirehouse.com Guest
We have a woman in our dept. that is alone as well, she gets harassed as much as any of the guys, but if it wasn't for her our paperwork and other important functions of the department would be horrible. Shes also a paramedic and 911 dispatcher so she is very active and extremely helpful in our department.
06-18-2001, 11:19 AM #84hctrouble25Firehouse.com Guest
First off, this is not a big deal like many of you are making it (especially the guy that wrote the whole 70's thing). I was simply asking for stories good and bad and this turned into some ugly debate that got way out of hand (this is why I asked the webteam to delete the forum). I am proud of what I have accomplished in my fire department, and I can honestly say that I do the job the guys do, and have actually been in real fires, on the nozzle and as a backup on the nozzle. As a matter of fact I went into a structure fire as a backup with a mutual aid Chief last year and he made a point to tell my Chief how impressed he was that I held my own. Yes many women have limitations, and so do I. But so do many of the men on my department. I pull my weight, do more work than many - not all, but many - of the guys (I chair several committees, and also work on several more), and take what I do seriously. I don't understand the men who are so against the women in the firehouse...but this should make you think. If you were to work with a guy that screwed up all the time, couldn't pull you out of a building, etc. would you blanket all men of his nationality, etc. and say they couldn't do the job? No? Then why do you do this with women? Women are not as predominant in this field as men and so when a few of us screw up we are all bad in your eyes...that is sexism at it's finest. Also, to ecappy, I didn't answer your questions about what I do to make the future better because in your eyes no matter how long or important the list would be I would still just be another woman trying to do a man's job...so I left it alone. Suffice it to say that I have done a lot to make my department and the lives of future women in my department better. And I also spent a lot of time working to save the FIRE Act funding for Fire Fighters and EMS personnel.
06-18-2001, 11:30 AM #85hctrouble25Firehouse.com Guest
For those who think women don't belong, I pose a question to you. Is it any less of a loss when a woman loses her life in a fire then it is when a man loses his life? If it makes a difference then you should take a long hard look at yourself. Any fire fighter who loses their life in the line is a hero regardless of who they are.
My prayers go out to the Fire Fighters, and to the families who lost 3 of NYs bravest this weekend. May they rest in peace.
06-18-2001, 01:44 PM #86eCappyFirehouse.com Guest
hctrouble25: Your comment; " ... in your eyes ... I would still just be another woman trying to do a man's job ... " tells me that you misunderstood all of my posts - all, ALL of which very clearly indicated that I have been a long time proponent of women (and others) in the fire service and a staunch opponent of those "warm and fuzzy - feel good - hey look at me" totally insipid 'prefixes' that some attention starved firefighters have an uncontrolable need to use to define themselves in these forums and in every day conversation. Once again I will repeat: We ain't got no 'female' firefighters in the fire service just firefighters!
06-18-2001, 03:12 PM #87Break-N-EntryFirehouse.com Guest
Since so many people seem to love these "retro-topics" and "blasts from the past" let's all get into our tie-dyed tee shirts, hip hugging bellbottoms, sandals or earth shoes, grab a Tab diet soda, and groove about some other old long dead and buried topics like "who makes the best plectrons" or "pros and cons about riding the tailboard" or "freelancing - good or bad."
Better yet - DON'T!
Women in the firehouse?
06-18-2001, 06:37 PM #88bgfdchickFirehouse.com Guest
To get back to the real topic...I am one of three "sisters" on my department. I knew a lot of my fellow brothers and sisters while I was with another department. I was offered a place on their extrication team - which is how I got to know these guys. A few months later, I joined their department.
They all treat me very well. I think they appreciate my sense of humor - and that they don't have to watch what they say around me in fear of a lawsuit or crap like that (and I dish out as much as I take ;-) ). We are a well disciplined bunch, and we have our fun.
I think my fellow firefighters respect me because I also know my limitations, and don't try to overreach them (in fact, they encourage me to do more than I think I can do - and often they're right!). I was commended by one of the judges at a recent extrication competition for passing off a tool to another teammate because it did not allow me the reach I needed to make a good cut. However, because of my size, I was able to squeeze between a jersey barrier and the car roof to make cuts to the A-post and windshield...something my other teammataes may not be able to do as easily.
In all, there is a constant flow of chatting and learning among all of us...we learn to put our best skills forward and work as an effective team. As far as the little things around the station (bathrooms, changing clothes, etc.)...we have separate bathrooms, and one shower room with a door lock. If I need to change clothes, they give me my privacy in the bunk room. In the event we need to sleep at the station - we're all adults and we don't do anything stupid.
Its been a great experience...I wouldnt change any of it for the world!
Best of luck to you - and be safe out there!
Whoever said "the last man standing - wins" never asked a chick to play
06-19-2001, 09:31 AM #89HarleyGumpFirehouse.com Guest
Women have to earn the respect of their peers like every other f/f. There are lots of good ones out there that work their butts off at a fire and that is what's most important. What do you think about separate sleeping quarters and washrooms for female f/f at every station. Do most just hang a "Occupied" sign on the door when in use. Just curious?
06-19-2001, 12:20 PM #90hctrouble25Firehouse.com Guest
eCappy - I did not misread any of your posts...you have said many times that you are for women in the fire service, it is the way you write things that makes me wonder if this is true or not. I do plenty for the fire service both in my own area and on a larger scale. I do give back, I do make a difference and so does everyone else that does this job. However, when you say there are no female fire fighters out there, just fire fighters, I disagree. There are certainly FireMEN, so there are definitely Female Fire Fighters as well. It is just reality. I don't take offense to it and I don't see why you do. The label is being attached to me and my gender, not you and yours. Stay safe out there.
06-19-2001, 02:07 PM #91eCappyFirehouse.com Guest
Hey, you know what hctrouble25? I really admire your tenacity and candor, and I wish more firefighters would stick to their beliefs and principals like you have instead of taking the easy way out or 'going with the flow' - and I mean it! I guess we're just two firefighters that will have to agree to disagree.
06-19-2001, 04:10 PM #92ChiefMcDFirehouse.com Guest
06-19-2001, 04:13 PM #93apatrolFirehouse.com Guest
Why does this question keep coming up? Is it not obvious that woman can do the job... Some may lack the stregnth in a physical since but are more than unable to process info and find solutions...I have scene several women have a problem pulling the 150 lbs dummy in training easily move a two hundred plus victim safety...Lets move on to the next set of repetitive questions
06-19-2001, 08:27 PM #94ProudFireWifeFirehouse.com Guest
HC: In response to your initial question, before all the name calling and what-not; our fire department has several females on board. We all took the same schooling (those who have gone through more recently, have learned more than others), we all attend the same trainings, we are all required to take the same continuing education courses. Our department doesn't see male or female. We see a team of firefighters and EMT's who work together to achieve a common goal. We certainly don't have the same strengths as each other(physical or intellectual), but my crew can count on me, and I can count on them, no matter what the call. Perhaps I haven't been trained as an HEO, but I can place a breathing tube better than a driver. That's why we work as a team. Not everyone can be the best at everything. Our department recognizes the skills and dedication of each firefighter/EMT. And we train to improve our department as a group. I am proud to be part of our crew and I wouldn't want it any other way.
In addition, I beleive your topic was an interesting one to start, but as many readers have said, it's a dead horse you are beating. Men, and women alike, may disagree with any and every aspect of the profession, but every job has that, it isn't limited to the fire service. It doesn't mean anyone has to like it. And with that, I leave your horse to the vultures to pick through.
Leading you when needed, following when asked, standing beside you always.
06-20-2001, 11:40 AM #95hctrouble25Firehouse.com Guest
eCappy: Thanks! I appreciate your willingness to hear me out, and to allow me to hear you as well. Hey sometimes we don't always agree but we all work together to get the job done and that is what counts. I look forward to talking to you more in the future.
As far as the topic being a dead horse, as I stated before, for me it is not. There are a couple of other women in firehouses in the area I am from, but not many. So to me this is a new area. I apologize if I brought up some stuff that others have already seen. If you have seen it and heard it all before then that is your experience and I understand that...but for others it might not be an old thing. I respect that for you it is boring and beat to death, but please respect that for me it is something I am still learning about. Anyway, please stay safe out there, this week has been a rough one for all our brothers and sisters.
06-20-2001, 01:43 PM #96Sonny SampsonFirehouse.com Guest
ecappy.....come on dude don't fall like that
hctrouble...appologies are a sign if weakness, stick to your guns
06-20-2001, 09:28 PM #97KGMFirehouse.com Guest
All firefighters have strengths and weaknesses. Most of us are in this for the same reason. Because we care!
The fire service is not going to go backwards and not allow certain "types" of firefighters. Learn to live with it, or get out!
Respect your co-workers for what they are, maybe they will accept you for what you are.
06-21-2001, 07:17 PM #98emt162Firehouse.com Guest
The Vol. Fire Dept. that I belong to has 6 women that are EMS Only and 5 firematic and we are treated great. I think in this day and age, you have to utilize all resources you can especially when the numbers of volunteers are dwindling. I have been in over 10 years and did both the Fire and EMS segments. Keep up the good work.
06-21-2001, 11:12 PM #99MadDog2020Firehouse.com Guest
Sonny I agree with you man.
I'v been in this business for over 25 years,
after all the years i've seen females come and go.Every time we went on a call we(the guys) have to help the girls to finish up cause they were too tired. The best place for them is the cantine unit or in the office as Secretary they do not belong in the field.Even on the Ambulance we have to do it for them. They just don't belong.
06-22-2001, 01:00 PM #100hctrouble25Firehouse.com Guest
Maddog you are entitled to your opinion...however, realize that in this day and age there are many of us women out there that can do the job and that do the job. I only ask one thing of you. Don't allow past experience to cloud your judgement about future women coming into your department. Give them the same benefit of the doubt that you give the guys coming in. One day one of us that "just don't belong" may just save your life or prove you wrong about a lot of your current thinking. Take care and be safe.
[This message has been edited by hctrouble25 (edited 06-22-2001).]
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