Baltimore Black Female Fire Captains Share Mission

Feb. 27, 2024
The two officers are trying to recruit minorities to consider a career with the Baltimore Fire Department.

African-Americans comprise about eight percent of career firefighters nationwide. 

Women of color make up an even smaller percentage in the fire service, the National Fire Protection Association statistics show.

In the Baltimore City Fire Department, data shows Black female firefighters make up about seven percent of uniformed personnel, WJZ reported. 

Two Black women are fire captains, and a third one is on the way.

Captain Shanntel Wilkins was promoted to fire suppression rank in September of 2023. 

When Wilkins was a child, she didn't see women wear boots and straps.

"I did not think about a woman being a firefighter. I never saw any."

Tiffany Randolph, an EMT and firefighter, said she hopes other women of color will join the ranks and become part of the sisterhood.  

"To come into a white male-dominated career is a second task," Randolph said. "It's just task full, but not impossible.

The two pushed themselves to achieve their goals. Nothing or no one was going to stop them. Snide comments pushed them even more. They were determined.

"I think men bring a strong sense of bravado, ego-driven, and women do not lead with that," Randolph said. "We are not impulsive typically like that. We like to think first, especially since it's such a dangerous job."

The two are on a mission to recruit and mentor other minorities considering a career with the Baltimore Fire Department.