08-28-2000, 09:37 PM #1SunshineFirehouse.com Guest
Here is the story....
I am a 25yof that has been in the fire service for three years, I have a fire chief of our town that tells me that as long as he is the chief, I can be on the ladies aux. as long as my husband joins the department. Here is the other problem, I am just as qualified, if not more, than half of the people on there and twice as young. I was very embarassed the day that I went and asked for an application, He laughed right in my face, and basically said "you'll never be on my department as long as I am here."
This really hurt, something that I really wanted to do in my life and here is this man kicking me in the teeth and laughing at me.
I pay my taxes for the fire department in which the township that I live in but yet I am not good enough to serve with them. My money is just as good for them to buy all there new equipment with , But I am not good enough to use it. Just because of my gender.
My question to you is where do I go fom here?
The chief has learned that some female my be applying to the department and now they have now started a physical agility test to detour me from tring to apply, sorry boys thats not gonna do it....They used scare tatics too. Knowing not many females have upper body strength, he tells me that I would have to carry a 165lbs. dummy up to flights of stairs and down again, I really wanted to tell him to lay down and I would do it but it just wasn't the right time. Instead I wanted proof that every one on the department has down the same exact test, sorry no results,Now What???????????
08-28-2000, 09:54 PM #2DianeFirehouse.com Guest
Sounds like discrimination which is against the law. 'Nough said. What an *** that Chief is!
08-28-2000, 10:32 PM #3SunshineFirehouse.com Guest
Well another thing,
No one really tell you how to slove it because it is a small town and the goodole boys don't want anything to change. I have been on a diffrent department outside of my county for some time now and i am the only women on the department that is not a volly.
But yet I still pay for the equipment that I can't use . I just think they are afraid they might learn something new or find out that I can do most of their jobs hands down.LOL
08-29-2000, 10:14 AM #4iwood51Firehouse.com Guest
Well Sunshine, all I can say is that I am equally as appalled at this boorish behaviour as you are. Gone are the days when there were waiting lists to get into volunteer departments. I would welcome any and all applicants (providing they meet eligibility requirements regarding arson check, etc.). I have served many years on my departments applicant screening board and we have only twice turned people down (both were re-applying and I won't go into the details). We currently have two females on the fire side of the department and 6 or 7 more on the EMS side. I have known women in the past that can outdo a lot of the guys when it comes to firefighting. This chief is an ***. Is his department so big and so good that he doesn't need new blood. He certainly needs some sensitivity training. I am sorry to say that the only advice I can give you is to seek legal counsel. The ACLU may help you as this is clearly a sexual discrimination issue. I would ask again to get on the department and make sur ethat you have a witness when he says no. If he turns you down, request in writing to get an application to join and if you don't receive it request again and again by certified mail.
Find out if there are any male applicants that have received their applications and make note of the time frame. The most important thing to do is to document each and every letter, phone call, e-mail etc.
One other thing to remember is that even if you win this, it will be a tough battle once you're in. If he goes with the agility test, tell him that you want to see all his firefighters take and pass the exact same test. Not just new applicants, all of them.
One other thing to find out is if he is elected by the department or appointed by the Town Council or Fire District. If he is appointed, then the appointing body would be the place to go. They will be a lot more anxious about a sexual discrimination lawsuit than one bigoted chief would be. I could go on forever about this, but I'll stop here for now.
08-29-2000, 10:31 AM #5bob1350Firehouse.com Guest
Sue 'em. This is outright discrimination. Then you can prove to the good old boys what an excellent firefighter you can be when you're given a chance.
08-29-2000, 02:27 PM #6SunshineFirehouse.com Guest
First of all, I would like to thank everyone for the return information. I forgot to add some other information you might find interesting:
I have been on our local ambulance for 6 years.I have had my emt for going on 9 years.
I have been to many of the fire dept. fires.
It is our protocal to respond to all of their fires, big or small. My point is this I was good enough to help them when the need the help, but not good enough to be by their side fighting the fire. I know we have a fire board, but I am not sure how they appoint people. I am going to look in to this matter and I will keep you updated.
Thank you for all of the support.
08-29-2000, 04:51 PM #7firefly1361Firehouse.com Guest
I know how you feel. At my station the "womans place is in the Ladies Aux." This is not true. When I started riding at my station the guys all harassed me. I ended up dating one of them and the harassing stopped. All because he was part of the click. They feel that if a woman is going to ride there she belongs on the ambulance. I took fire fighter and the guys laughed at me. The chief was supportive and he and I are friends now. The guy and I broke up and the harassing started again. There have been so many times I wanted to quite but I didnt. If I quit there it just shows that they win. I have made it a male dominated world. The guys have backed off because I am not going to play games. I'm not afraid to write them up and now we have stricter rules and bi-laws about harassment. Hope your situation works out. You can make it if not there find another fire house to volley at. Take care and stay safe.
Heather Helm ff/emt-b
Carroll County Company 13
"If You go, We go"
08-29-2000, 05:39 PM #8JMP17Firehouse.com Guest
Give it your all Sunshine and Iknow you'll make it! You can't tell me women don't make good FF.s it was a lady FF. whos hand saved me from going through the floor in a third floor worker one night. And I'm about a 220 lb. Dummy. Good LUCK, and if all else fails come to CT. I'll fight the beast with you anyday!
Stay SAFE & Take care fo each other!!
08-29-2000, 10:35 PM #9firebox1Firehouse.com Guest
Sunshine, what you need to do is go to a township board meeting and then go to a fire board meeting and state your case. This to me is just very upsetting b/c I know of a few female firefighters that can do the job better than the male firefighter's on my dept. I have more respect for female firefighter's than I do for male firefighter's just for that reason, they can do exactly what is expected of them and more. If taking to any one of the boards meetings don't work than take them to court they will settle it there and I believe the out come will be on your side. Let me know what happens if you don't mind
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