Women in the Fire Service, Inc.
Bulletin Board/Guestbook Archives
July-September 2002


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Posted 9/24/02 xxxx Reply to:

After reading all the comments, speeches, and information on this website concerning the invisibility of women in the fire service I would encourage, nay, plead with all of my sisters out there to attend the memorial in New York next month if you can. I would also encourage the wfsi to promote this event and let women know about it.

A group of six women firefighters from my department in Santa Barbara, Ca. will be going, en masse to New York to attend. I know it does not seem like much, but we hope to make a presence there...this is our annual trip together, one we had planned on spending in Mexico, but we felt this is a once in a lifetime opportunity we could not ignore.

Please join us on October 12th at Madison Square Garden in honoring our fellow firefighters and let everyone see the faces of ALL the heroes.

S. Bell, Engine 6, SBFD

Posted 9/17/02 xxxx Reply to:
    I am a young Firefighter coming up on a year of service as a volunteer in my community. In my experience, I have never encountered discrimination because I am female. Next month, I will begin a Firefighter 1 academy, I will be the only female. I know I can hold my own skill wise, I can throw a ladder and lay a line with the rest- I am concerned though that I will be treated differently because I am a female. I want the rest of the guys to respect me the same way they respect their brothers. However, I feel sometimes when a female exceeds what their male counterparts do, they see it as proctors going easy on them. I want to be challenged and pushed with the rest of my brothers. Does anyone have any suggestions- do I have to prove myself or just roll it at 120% and hope for the best?
Posted 9/15/02 xxxx Reply to:

I am currently an Associate Producer, researching for a new Paramount Domestic Television Series, Life Moments. Our documentary-style program focuses on women as they experience a significant, life altering event. If you have a Life Moment coming up on the horizon I urge you to share it with us and possibly on National Television!

Send your stories and contact information to:

x x
Posted 9/15/02 xxxx Reply to: or
  Does anyone know the final outcome for Jessica DeLeon, the Belen, NM firefighter who was badly hurt when her firetruck jumped into gear and pinned her? It happened last year sometime. xxxxxxKathy
Posted 9/15/02 xxxxReply to:
     Soon I will be joining the fire academy and I was curious about what type of things should I expect. What type of physical and mental challenges should I expect? If there are any women firefighters who read this message it would be greatly appreciated if you could send some of your experiences or any suggestions to me.
Posted 9/3/02 x x x Reply to:

My name is Andy Prachar. I am a Roman Catholic priest serving the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ: four counties of northeastern New Jersey. I am also chair for our annual St. Florian Firefighter Mass.

We honor the firefighting community at our Mass at our Cathedral Basilica in Newark on October 13. You can check us out at our website: www.rcan.org/StFlorianMass.

You can imagine between the male clergy and the predominantly male fire service that we would love to have more women who are in the fire service join us that day. We already communicate to all in the fire service, career and volunteer, about the Mass.

I would love to have some women firefighters participate in the various liturgical ministries at the Mass. If you are in our area and are interested, please feel free to e-mail me.


Father Andy Prachar

Posted 9/5/02 x x x Reply to: or


I'm a 22 year old woman very interested in being a firefighter, I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice as to get my masters at a University in Fire Science or Administration or to attend a private school
of firefighting? Which one is more accredited and which schools would you recommend? Thanks!

Lexee Marshall

Posted 9/3/02 x x x Reply to:

 I'm Director of HUGS and HOPE for Sick Kids - a group of volunteers who help critically ill children. We have one little boy in our group who is a FIREFIGHTER fanatic and collects anything to do with fire fighting. He is a quadriplegic (11 years old). His name is Taylor Larson and he lives in Arlington, Tennessee. I'm wondering if you might be able to help us surprise Taylor???

If you're willing and you have some ideas, please email me. Thanks so much for considering how you can help us to put a smile on Taylor's face!

Marsha Jordan

 Posted 8/20/02 x x x Reply to
    I am sending a request for female fire fighters anywhere in the U.S. to contact me at NBC television 818/526-7869. I'm looking for contestants for the TV show, the Weakest Link. I'm specifically looking for energetic, enthusiastic fire fighters who would like to go on television and play the game with us. It's always good to have interesting and funny stories to tell as well. The firefighter should also be able to wear their uniform on the air. If someone is interested in being on "The Weakest Link," they can call me, John Chavez at 818/526-7869.
 Posted 8/20/02 x x x Reply to or

Ihave been reading through your website to find out statistical information about women firefighters. I was surprised to see so much of your space dedicated to the lack of media coverage for women fighters, the impact of gender specific terms like "fireman" and"firemen" and the time and effort by people like Lt. Berkman and Linda Willing to "right" this national wrong. Shouldn't this energy be spent recruiting more capable females to become firefighters thus increasing visibility. After all actions speak louder than words.

Doyou or Lt. Berkman and Linda Willing call the media every time "Dead Beat Dad","Wife Beater" is used, these terms are not inclusive. Do you believe women don't initiate violence in relationships. Do you believe women don't abandon children or fail to pay child support. "WorkingMom" is used to give women extra credit. What about working fathers, don't they deserve extra credit too?

Women make up 2% of firefighters nation wide and 0% of firefighters who died at theWTC. Women make up far a greater portion than that of domestic abusers or dead beat parents but I don't here you trying to give them "credit" for their deeds. More fathers work than mothers but "Working Mom" is a household term, Ihave never heard or read the term "Working Dad".

When women do positive things they MUST be given publicity, but when they do bad things men take all the credit.

Lt.Berkman, Linda Willing and you should be ashamed of yourselves for grandstanding while you should be mourning your fellow firefighters. You should be ashamed at your hypocritical,selfish actions camouflaged in righteous "equal rights" proclamations. This country regularly ignores womens'contribution to crime and injustice while labeling men as the unjust. It is ok to make women"invisible" if deserved recognition is negative.
This country has changed standards of physical fitness, spent hundreds of millions of dollars on facilities and recruitment, and passed thousands of laws and regulations to "improve" the military, law enforcement and fire protection by admitting women. Yet, you continue the trend of promoting women by minimizing men by ridiculing the appreciation given to hundreds of your dead BROTHERS. I will remember all of you as I risk my life to protect you and this great country of political correctnessand grandstanding as an Army Captain and Airborne Ranger.

More media attention would be given to female firefighters if there were more female firefighters. Women already know it is possible, women already know it is important. They don't need more encouragement they need more moral courage or the simple desire to stand up and do the hard, dangerous and very important job of firefighting.

Be safe,
Watson Caudill

I doubt I will see this posted on your forum. However, as professionals open discussion of differing veiws is important.
  Posted 8/16/02 x x x Reply to

 I am trying to get antenna balls to make a "floral arrangement" for one of our local firefighters (Lake Jackson Texas), who I dispatch for who has been diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer. I know if I get enough balls for this arrangement it would really bring a smile to his face. I will put the name of the individual/company that sends the antenna balls. I will also send a picture of the finished arrangement in case you might want to see it. Any help you might be would be greatly appreciated. Thank you,

Dianne Denham

 Posted 8/16/02 x x x Reply to or

After having been with the Port Arthur Fire Dept for 23 years, I have retired! Just wanted some women starting out to know that we DO outlast alot of those guys who swear we will never make it a year or two. Had a rough start as a professional firefighter back in 1979 but made it through, even went through four pregnancies WITHOUT light duty as an option...see we ARE tougher than alot of those guys. Some of the men I have worked with are among my most treasured lifelong friends as are some of the wives and EX-wives. I will greatly miss the department but count it as one of the most enriching experiences I have had... so far. It's time to move on and see what journeys life takes me on now.

Kim Chiasson
Port Arthur,Texas

 Posted 8/16/02 x x x Reply to or

Hey Ladies. I am a volunteer firefighter in Green Brook, NJ. This is my 15th year of service. I was one of 3 young women to join back in 1987. Myself and one of the other women stayed to the present time. When we applied to become firefighters, we were told something that stuck with me to this day. Our past Chief, Al Kappelmann (who sadly was killed in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11th) stood up in the meeting our membership was being discussed at and said "IF THEY CAN DO THE JOB, THEY DESERVE TO BE HERE!!!" No one argued. No one said a word. That will always stay with me as long as I live. It is too bad that many stories I have read reflect attitudes different than this towards women.

I experienced some similar difficulty when I went away to college and joined the local FD in Pa. when they blackballed me for being female. They insisted I wanted to join b/c I wanted to pick up guys (trust me... if I was going to pick up guys it was NOT going to be there). I had more experience and training than even their paid drivers at the time. I ended up being told I could not join by the Ladder company and moved across town to join the Rescue Company who accepted me with open arms. I rode with them for 4 years and kept active back in NJ when I came home for weekends or holidays.

I can honestly say that the guys are my family. One of them described our relationship at the firehouse as "one big dysfunctional family." I look forward to finally climbing the officer ladder and have been encouraged to do so.

All I can say is God bless you all and don't let the ignorant attitudes get you down. If you have to, move to where you are accepted and treated the way you should be.

Dr. Renee T. Foster
Green Brook Fire-EMS
Green Brook, NJ

Posted 7/31/02 x x x Reply to


I'm doing a magazine article for a national magazine that is published here in Memphis, Tennessee. I need to interview a female firefighter. The article is on what it is like to be a woman firefighter. Was it tough at first? Did you have to prove yourself? Do you think you've opened the door and paved the way for others and it might not be so hard on them? Please ask some of your members for their input and ask them to write me at We want to know what they love about it, what their relationships are with the males they work with, and if they'd do it all over again. We generally are looking for positive experiences, even if it was tough at first.

Thanks for your help,

Shari DeGroff

 Posted 7/28/02 x x x Reply to or
    Hey everyone!

Myself and one other woman are the only two female firefighters on our paid department. I have been on the department paid for a little over a year and Dawnn for two years now. Dawnn just made driver not too long ago. Just wanted to say WAY TO GO DAWNN!!!!!! Congrats!!!!

Susanna Williams
Burlington Fire Department
Burlington, NC
 Posted 7/28/02 x x x Reply to or

Hey Fellow Firefighters,

My name is Steve Zelem and I am Ex-Chief and acting President for the South Salem FD in New York. I have been in the fire service for 15 yrs and was wondering if you had a spot on your site for a non-profit organization called Gear-Up.

Myself and 2 other firefighters Lt Dan Shreidan FDNY and retired firefighter Vin Forras have started this foundation with the intent to help other firefighters and countries. Our mission is to collect and distribute fire/ems gear to those in need and to follow up with training. As of now we are working with Ecuador and have transported around 1 million worth of gear and apparatus which have been donated by mostly NY depts.

So please clean your house and see if you have any items. We started just 5 months ago and can see that this will be a world wide effort just by the dept's and contacts that have jumped on board. This is all being done on our spare time.

Please let me know if anything can be done on your part, it would be greatly appreciated. If you know of any dept's that need our help please put them in contact with me. I can be contacted at ssfd24512@aol.com or szelem@gear-up.org My cell # is 914-490-3959 and fax @ 914-763-8768
Thank you for your time.

Be Safe
Ex-Chief Steven Zelem


 Posted 7/27/02 x x x Reply to

hello everyone,

i am currently a member of a mailing list on yahoo groups for "women on the web" and find it to be a great resource for the people on the list, both in terms of job questions/postings as well as subjects outside of work.

anyway, i have used this as inspiration to create a yahoo group for female fire fighters (of which i am one). i was hoping to post here to get some women to sign up, and to get a supportive community started via email.

i'll work on trying to get women to sign up for this for a while and start posting - i know a lot of it depends on the numbers. if it looks like no one is really interested, then i'll talk to myself on it for a while...just kidding - i'll take it down if that's the case.

look forward to seeing you on there. here's the link: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fff_911/

and you can subscribe by this link:

questions? email me here:


 Posted 7/23/02 x x x Reply to

Want to reinvent yourself? MTV can help you get "MADE"

You've been waiting for this moment forever. Your shot at the team, your moment in the spotlight. A chance to reinvent yourself and get "made" into what you really want to be -- but don't know how to become.

MTV's new show MADE wants to give you a complete lifestyle makeover! You will meet with a team of experts who will give you a crash training course and help you accomplish your goal. This training could include your physical ability, attitude or looks -- whatever it takes for you to achieve your dream! We'll document your progress, as well as get the opinion of your friends & family along the way.

We are looking for young women between 16-26 who have always dreamed of being firefighters, EMT's or joining the police force, but never thought they had the strength.

If you think this is you, TELL US ABOUT IT! Explain what your goal is, why you think you can make it, and why you need MTV's help you reinvent yourself. We'll give you the tools to pursue your dream -- the coach, the trainer, the tutor, whatever -- and you'll do the rest.

EMAIL YOUR STORY and be sure to include your name, age, location and contact information to

 Posted 7/23/02 x x x Reply to

Fellow firefighters:

I need your help in lobbying the Louisiana State Firemen's Association for a name change. That's right, it's called the Firemen's Association. I am not a man, nor am I someone who shovels coal into a train engine. I will stand in front of the association during the General Assembly and proclaim once again, that it needs to be changed. This year I would like some help from you. If you are offended at being called "fireman," please e-mail the president of this association and let your opinion be heard. I would love for you to CC the email to me so that I may use it during my speech.

At last year's convention, I innocently asked if the name could be changed to be politically correct. I was called ugly names in reference to sexual preference. I had to have escorts help me out of the ballroom. I felt exhilarated. The South is so backwards. I understand about tradition in the fire service as my father is also a firefighter. I have been with the fire service for 8 years, and now I feel confident enough to speak out.

Please email

Thank you for all of your help! Time is of the essence, as the convention begins Aug 8!

Shannon Hurst Lane


 Posted 7/14/02 x x x Reply to or

I have recently been promoted to District Chief, and I have recently become pregnant, both of which I am very excited about. However I am having difficulty finding any type of uniform maternity clothing.

In the past all the women who have become pregnant were firefighters; when they reported to a limited duty status, they were allowed to wear some type of maternity pants or scrubs and a uniform golf shirt. My problem lies in that the department would like me to have more of a professional look. Our DC's always wear a collared shirt with brass and insignia, and the above attire would not be considered appropriate.

My boss is willing to reasonably accommodate me with leeway on the dress code, but I cannot find any type of maternity uniform. Does anyone know of anything out there or have any other suggestions? He has said that he would not mind professional civilian clothing, but I certainly cannot afford to go out and purchase a maternity wardrobe of professional attire. Any suggestions anyone may have would be helpful.

  Posted 7/14/02 x x x Reply to or

Re: Scholarships for Masters in Fire Administration


I am a battalion chief and am interested in attending Oklahoma State University to obtain a Masters in Fire Administration. I am looking for tuition assistance. Is anyone aware of any grants available for women fire officers? Thank you for any guidance you can provide.

Tamalyn Nigretto

 Posted 7/8/02 x x x Reply to or
    I am a mother of 3 young children, and am currently in the process of signing up for Fire Science courses. I was curious if anyone had opinions on the necessity of these courses in relation to becoming a firefighter. It has always been a secret dream of mine to be a firefighter, now with the support of my husband, I am trying to make that dream a reality. However, I took it upon myself to dive in full-force for the classes, without checking into what kind of role that particular degree will play in my job-seeking endevours. Any advice, or support would be fantastic! Thank you.
  Posted 7/8/02 x x x Reply to or


I just wanted to write in and thank everyone out there for their thoughts and sincere devotion to their jobs in the firefighting world. I'm a 25 yr. old female from Omaha, Nebraska. This past year I have just got started on the long path in the world of firefighting. I recently finished my EMT and I'm enrolled for the fall paramedic class.

I also have just received a letter from our local fire and rescue that read "Thanks for your time and interest, however we have met our quota." I know it is not a personal issue; however, I trained so hard for the physical agility test and passed and went through the interviewing process which went fine, and so I thought I was done jumping through the hoops and the only thing left was for the board of officers to vote on the new rookie class. It's really hard when you spend so much time planning and working towards something that you want so bad you can taste it, and get so close and yet still have it out of your reach.

I spent some time in self-pity and now I'm okay with it, and I will pick myself up and make a decision to go out for it again. Or I do hae the option to move to another part of Omaha and try out for a bigger station that may have more to offer me than the one I just tried out for. I hate making life decisions but it is nice to have some.

I know many of you out there have been in this situation or have experienced the let-down of rejection for something you worked so hard for. What does not kill us makes us stronger. I have and will walk away with this as a learning experience, and I won't let this get me down for long. Sometimes, however, I get tired of having to prove my devotion and my persistence and my love for the job of firefighting. I hate that a majority of the population laughs when you say you want to be a firefighter, and it sucks that I feel that women have to constately prove themselves worthly to be a part of this field. Sometimes I think women want it more than men, because we spend so much time and effort to go after something that others look at being the unreachable, the very thing that society deems the unreachable for me as a women fuels my ambition and my persistence to even want it more.

I will always go after my dreams and although life throws you a few loops and set backs, they are only temporary. It's life's way of seeing just how bad you want what your working for, it keeps you focused. My advice to all women out there embarracking on this slightly uncharted waters is to never no matter what, no matter how long the road is and no matter how many times you fall (this are only temporary set backs), never give up!! You can anything you put your kmind to, you can reach what you may think is the unreachable, if you want it bad enough. God bless, and keep you all safe out there.

Shannon M. Bruzzo, LVT/EMT

Feel free to e-mail me -- I'd love to hear from you.

 Posted 7/8/02 x x x Reply to or

 Hello to All Women Firefighters

This is a great website. I am a Captain with an all paid fire department, and also the only female, as you would know it. This is a very good source of support for all of us, please feel free to email me. Am interested in hearing from other females on the job.

Captain Pam Pourciau NIFD


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