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  • woman in the firehouse

    I took my firefighter entrance exam today, there were 5 women and 200 men. I am married with 2 kids, in great shape. If I get past the rest of the process, just wondering how I will be viewed as a woman proby.
    thanks for you honest O's

  • #2
    If you do the job , take the same ribbing as the guys do and give it right back to them.. you'll do fine.

    I have had two female probies on my group. Both are daughters of firefighters on the Department, so they grew up in the firehouse culture and knew what to expect. One of them just started her 4th year on the job, the other has about three months on.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    • #3
      Here is my honest opinion.....

      And it is seen from both sides of the coin.....

      The men in your station will be skepticle of you, for a while. Some will just be sexist, others may have had bad experiences with women on the FD in the past.

      You are at an unfair disadvantage in the beginning, but only in the beginning.

      Refrain from trying to be "one of the guys".....you never will be. Instead, try to be the "middle sister".

      Be the best damn firefighter you can be. Listen in the academy, study hard, ace your tests and practicals.

      Be strong enough to be a firefighter....strong mentally and physically....if you aren't strong enough in these aspects (man or woman) you are useless to the fire service.

      Try to fit in, but don't give up who you are. If you like gardening, keep liking gardening....don't take on others' interests just to become accepted....it's fake.


      Sooooo, how will you be viewed? As a fellow firefighter. Provided you are true to the job, give it your best, ignore the few jerks, and are actually capable of doing the job.

      Good luck on your test!

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      • #4
        And.........

        We're a Volunteer Department of 85 Members of which 26 are women. 11 of the Ladies have more than ten years on, with the first woman joining about 1980. There are currently 3 very active Wife/Husband teams, and other combinations including Parent(s) - Children, Grandchildren, Brothers, Sisters, etc. Maybe because we've had the Ladies around for so long, but we just don't seem to have any problems related to Gender.
        Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
        In memory of
        Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
        Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

        IACOJ Budget Analyst

        I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

        www.gdvfd18.com

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        • #5
          Originally posted by hwoods
          We're a Volunteer Department of 85 Members of which 26 are women. 11 of the Ladies have more than ten years on, with the first woman joining about 1980. There are currently 3 very active Wife/Husband teams, and other combinations including Parent(s) - Children, Grandchildren, Brothers, Sisters, etc. Maybe because we've had the Ladies around for so long, but we just don't seem to have any problems related to Gender.
          That is so nice to hear. : )

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          • #6
            You guys have a great working relationship going there Chief. Which gives hope for those who are maybe not in such good hands.
            If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

            "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

            "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

            Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

            impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

            IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by TrainingNut
              Here is my honest opinion.....

              And it is seen from both sides of the coin.....

              The men in your station will be skepticle of you, for a while. Some will just be sexist, others may have had bad experiences with women on the FD in the past.

              You are at an unfair disadvantage in the beginning, but only in the beginning.

              Refrain from trying to be "one of the guys".....you never will be. Instead, try to be the "middle sister".

              Be the best damn firefighter you can be. Listen in the academy, study hard, ace your tests and practicals.

              Be strong enough to be a firefighter....strong mentally and physically....if you aren't strong enough in these aspects (man or woman) you are useless to the fire service.

              Try to fit in, but don't give up who you are. If you like gardening, keep liking gardening....don't take on others' interests just to become accepted....it's fake.


              Sooooo, how will you be viewed? As a fellow firefighter. Provided you are true to the job, give it your best, ignore the few jerks, and are actually capable of doing the job.

              Good luck on your test!
              TrainingNut layed it out pretty well. In all honesty, I'm probably one of the jerks he told you to ignore. I personally believe that the only place in the fire service for women is in the Ladies Auxiliary. Firefighting is tough, dangerous, and dirty. Why would any woman want to work in a job like that? In my opinion, it's the man's job to protect women from those types of situations. There are clear physiological and psychological differences between men and women; differences that make men better suited to be firefighters. I realize that there are women capable of doing the job. However, there is no equality in the job performance of men and women in the fire service. There are exceptions, but men in general make better firefighters then women. So that's my opinion in a nutshell. Fortunately for you though, my opinion is only shared by a select few. I think the majority of guys in the fire service today are becoming increasingly acceptable of women. So like TrainingNut said, be true to the job, give it 100% every day, and ignore the few jerks like myself (because I'll be ignoring you for the most part) and you should be okay.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hmm I dunno. Much like the army, I have worked alongside some very capable ladies, and would not ever have wanted them traded for anything. Just as there have some guys I thought just as highly of. The only sorta-kinda bench-mark I use is:

                If you can keep up with me, fan-freak'n-tastic. If you can surpass me FAR-FREAK'N-OUT-FAN-FREAK'N-TASTIC! All the power too ya.

                (and for the record I am no Hulk Hogan or anyone like that - just an average sized guy. Not quite "round" but then we all agreed somewhere in here that "round" is a shape. )
                If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

                "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

                "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

                Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

                impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

                IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

                Comment


                • #9
                  As with anybody- just do the damn job. Don't make a bunch of excuses, try to ditch the work, or worse, immediately try to lower any standards.
                  And yes, there are heat merchants out there. Thick skin and the ability to take a ribbing will go along ways. More power to you if you can dish it out as well. But, dishing it out and being thin skinned will leave you marked for life.
                  Good luck.
                  My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
                  "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
                  George Mason
                  Co-author of the Second Amendment
                  during Virginia's Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788
                  Elevator Rescue Information

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                  • #10
                    Don't give the impression that your on a crusade, pay your dues and earn respect.
                    If I'm not here I'm on http://ctfire-ems.com/indexc.php

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                    • #11
                      I go along with the majority that as long as you can do the job, you good to go in my book. I'm a male, and have no problem with it, heck, I can even admit that a woman ran the White House from 1992-2000!!
                      A Fire Chief has ONLY 1 JOB and that's to take care of his fireman. EVERYTHING else falls under this.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I am a woman on one of the busiest engines in the southeast and I have to agree with pretty much every piece of advice that was given to you. But as I woman, I will be your biggest critic, only because I have been there.

                        First, DO NOT CARE HOW YOU WILL BE VIEWED! It doesn't matter. This is not a popularity or beauty contest. Just like Ironmint said, you will ALWAYS have someone who will not like you and think you do not belong. Who cares! On the other hand you, if your are lucky you will aquire another family.

                        Second, Just do the job! Hell, half the men out their are fat, lazy and unmotivated and will probably get hurt or someone else hurt because the only thing they have exercised in years are their mouths. Then you have a quarter of the men (and woman) who are just scared to "get in there". Stay in shape, train your tail off and pay attention. Don't ever say you "Can't Do It", if you ever do, you don't need to be on the job!

                        Third, NEVER, and I do mean NEVER, segregate yourself. I am not saying to pee standing up or grab you nads and spit in a cup, but if there are things to be done, weather you like it or not just do it! Don't worry about your hair or if you are scared of something...it doesn't matter...there is a job to do, get it done not matter what it takes! Yet, at the same time, do not come in thinking you are one of the guys, in time that MIGHT come.

                        Last but not least, pick your battles wisely. DO NOT DATE ANYONE IN YOUR DEPARTMENT, IT'S NOT A DATING SERVICE! (Hopefully you are married to a really supportive husband) And remember that men will always be men!

                        They always tease me because I am the cook and they say that is where a woman belongs, at the stove. But guess what, NO ONE MESSES WITH THE COOK and I am always there if the buzzer goes off! If you do not have EXTREMLEY THICK SKIN, you will have a hard time in your career. If you come into this line of work being offended by men talking about how hot other woman are or are offended by foul language, bodily fluids and smells unknown to mankind, I think you might have to look for another line of work.

                        I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor and hope you follow my advice. I am stationed with 8 men, we are like family! I have never had a problem with anyone that I have met, and if I ever do, my crew has my back. GOOD LUCK!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by FirstDueCTVol
                          We have a place for girls in our department - the womens auxillary- there is a reason we are called firemen.
                          Are you kidding me?

                          The term firefighter was introduced in the 70's for a reason.
                          ------------------------------------
                          These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.
                          ------------------------------------

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Do your job properly, no whining and don't get caught up in the pettines between any parties.
                            If you don't know, ask. And listen carefully to the answer.
                            Practice.
                            Persevere.
                            IACOJ
                            If you are willing to teach;
                            I am willing to learn.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by FirstDueCTVol
                              We have a place for girls in our department - the womens auxillary- there is a reason we are called firemen.

                              I was gonna stay out of word-slinging... but as RFRD says, I agree. Also the dictionary refers to "fireman" as:

                              1)A man who tends fires; a stoker.
                              2) An enlisted man in the U.S. Navy engaged in the operation of engineering machinery;

                              1: a laborer who tends fires (as on a coal-fired train or steamship) [syn: stoker] 2: a pitcher who does not start the game [syn: reliever, relief pitcher] 3: a member of a fire department who tries to extinguish fires.
                              I don't BUILD fires, I help put them out. Yes, "firefighter" was included as part of the definition, but it receives very small attention - like one word.

                              (funny note: when someone calls me a "fireman" the image I get in my head is of those guys in the boiler room aboard TITANIC just before she strikes the iceburg....)

                              Ref: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fireman

                              **Maybe I have just been real fortunate to work with two very progressive stations, with modern ideals. For which I am very grateful.

                              Of course, FirstDue, if what you said was meant with tongue-in-cheek humour, then I apologize for the above.
                              If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

                              "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

                              "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

                              Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

                              impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

                              IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

                              Comment

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