Bulletin Board/Guestbook


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 Posted 2/1/05 xxxx Reply to: or

My name is Sara, I'm 18 years old and I am interested in firefighting. I am from Canada and wondering if you need any schooling like fire science or something along those lines, or any programs that might help me out a bit. Please e-mail me back at if you have any info at all. Thanks.
Posted 1/18/05 xxxx Reply to: or
  Hello all,

I've been a firefighter/EMT for about 11 years and have finally decided to get pregnant. It's been a very tough decision and I am so curious to hear other women's stories about how they survived "light duty," staying fit and/or getting back into shape after the baby... how much time you took off after the baby was born, etc? Were you happy to go back
to work, or was it hard being gone 24 hours? How many folks took Fire Prevention jobs (or other 8-5 type positions) instead of going back on line? Any and all information is welcome.

Thank you,

Firemam Sam
Posted 1/10/05 xxxx Reply to: or


I am a firefighter/EMT in Portales, New Mexico. I am looking to network with other full time career firefighters in New Mexico or West Texas. I am also hoping to get a new weight lifting program and was wondering what programs other women were using. You can email me at


Melissa Clark

Posted 1/10/05 xxxx Reply to: or


I am a volunteer firefighter in upstate New York. I just want to acknowledge my fire department for taking such great care of me. I have never been treated differently than my peers (either male or female), I have been given great opportunities, including extra classes and the NYS Women in Firefighting seminar at the NYS fire academy for the past two years. I've learned so much, and I've only been in a little over two years. It's not often that you hear a women that is treated well in the fire service. I am here to say it does happen, I have been very happy in my department. This year is my first
year as a Lieutenant. I am the second women lieutenant in my department. I enjoy the fire service and hope to keep going for quite some time. I hope this gives hope to others out there.

Thank you,


Posted 1/5/05 xxxx Reply to: or

I am ecstatic to find such a wonderful website! It has given me a lot of answers that I have been looking for! I am currently in the US Air Force working in a WMD/Emergency Management based career field. However ever since arriving for duty have been overly intrigued with the possibility of re-training into Fire Protection. Recently I have gotten even more motivation to make the change, so I have started to really do the research to decide for sure. (I have a year and a half to get physically and mentally prepared.) As I said, the postings I have read have really inspired, and informed me. I can ask the Fire troops around here all I want, but I can't get a woman's view. I would love any more input, or encouragement from anyone!

Thanks for all the encouraging words for those of us who are a bit hazy and hesitant in jumping in to a male dominated career (not that I've ever been intimidated to show up the "boys'!!).
Posted 12/12/04 xxxx Reply to:


I need some advice/help. In May 2003, I took the NYS Firefighter Exam for Civil Service and scored first on the exam, on top of being the only female on the list. Since then, I have been passed over 3 times for a position and they refuse to even appoint me as a substitute.

This fire department does not currently have any minorities serving, and the list is almost exhausted (there were only 6 or 7 of us). I went out of my way to qualify for this position, to the point of paying for my own EMT certification and a personal trainer for the CPAT. Now I've just found out that the two men they just appointed ahead of me to the full-time position have failed the CPAT. They are both now crying foul to the people that hold the CPAT's because they claim that they were never properly prepared for the exam.

Both men are very heavy (250+) and extremely out of shape. This is the first time they have actually participated in the CPAT: they were supposed to take it last month and they put it off because they didn't feel that they were ready to take it (and neither of them has so much as gone to the gym). I was in the same CPAT Orientation Class as they were in August, because they were planning to appoint me as a sub, and not only did we get to fully review the course in a half hour movie, but we also got a training manual for the CPAT breaking down EXACTLY how to train for it (i.e. what machine to use, how many reps, etc.)

Is there anything I can do about this, or someone in New York I can contact? I'm getting extremely frustrated and depressed that the city obviously doesn't think I should be allowed a chance to serve my community.


Lisa Cramer

  Reply from posted 12/16/04


I signed my letters "Tired of being passed over in NY State" I too, had been passed over by less qualified and had paid for my own EMT training. I wrote 3 times to this bulletin board, if you care to read them, 11-7-04, 10-30-04, and 6-8-04.

I graduated Fire Academy 11-23-04 with the highest GPA and now I am Nationally Certified in Fire Fighter 1 and 2.
I work for a paid department of about 135 men and one other woman.

You may want to mention to the person responsible for hiring, somestatistics of minorities (fire fighters) in NY State.

You may want to make an appointment with a local lawyer to talk about youroptions. I canceled my lawyer appointment a few days prior to theappointment. Who knows, maybe it got around to the powers that be, that I had made an appointment..

I got appointed after being passed over 3 or 4 times in 3 years.

Good Luck, and don't give up!


'Finally Hired in NY State'

  Reply from posted 1/4/05

Regarding being "passed over".

I forgot to mention, I also wrote to my senator, forwarding him my letter I wrote to the WFS Bulletin Board.
My senator responded and asked more questions, which I answered. This MAY have helped my 'appointment'.

'Finally Hired in NY State'

 Posted 12/12/04 xxxx Reply to: or

Hello Women Firefighters:

Please post or email a reply as to if you have a skirt or pants as your Class A Dress uniform issue?

Thanks for your information and have a safe day.

 Posted 11/28/04 xxxx Reply to: or

I am a female firefighter from Ontario, Canada. I have just discovered your website this past month and I have found it very interesting to browse through.

I am searching for peers in my province that can share information about "pregnancy in suppression" and how their departments put a plan into effect. Currently my department does not have anything in place. I am trying to gather information in order to help develop a plan and in turn prepare for my own future, from a pro-active stance. The response from my union has not been very supportive. They want to "deal with it when it happens", and I do not want this to be an issue that is specific to me as an individual. I want to be able to make plans for my family while having a policy to look at and base my decisions on and for other women on this department in the future.

I have been unsuccessful in finding any organizations that are specific to Canadian women in the fire service. Perhaps you could be of some assistance to me and point me in the right direction... that is if there is an organization of its kind that exists.

Thank you for your assistance.

 Posted 11/12/04 xxxx Reply to: or

Due to a lengthy process of increasing problems at my department, I have filed a complaint with the EEOC. During the processing of this complaint they asked it I would agree to attempt mediation. I said yes. With mediation, you have to come to the table with demands including monies, as this is the only way to get them to admit "guilt" as mediations will find no fault. I have no idea what to ask for. While the thought of taking their money sickens me, them further damaging my reputation and career is unacceptable to me. Is there anyone that has been through this process that can share in "general" terms what they asked for and what they got? Any advice would be appreciated. Please post replies here or email them to



 Posted 11/12/04 xxxx Reply to:

I am looking for some advice from my sisters. I am from Colorado, and when you were all here for the conference a year ago, I was astonished at the number of women with complaints or reasons to advocate for equal treatment. I had candid discussion with several women that we didn't seem to have a discrimination problem in Colorado.

Then our well-respected chief was removed, and a new one took over. The months since then have snowballed into daily torment and destruction of professional reputations. Several complaints have been filed with our department, and an outside investigator has been conducting interviews that are readily inflaming an already hot work environment.

We are looking for some direction. These complaints are from both volunteer and paid personnel. None of these ladies have money for legal services. How or where do we find a legal representative that can assist us through mediation? (We don't anticipate that this will ever go to court. Resolution demands are not out of line, and monetary demands are very low.)

Please forward any thoughts or ideas on the matter.

Thank you.

  Reply from posted 1/5/04
  I am in Colorado too and going through this right now -- in fact next shift I will probably be disciplined because of being a whistle blower!

E-mail me
Thanks and good luck.
 Posted 11/7/04 xxxx Reply to:


"Tired of being passed over in NY State" HAS PASSED THE CPAT AGILITY TEST ! (mandatory) with flying colors!!!!

Total allotted time: 10:20 min/sec. My time: 08:35 min/sec.

I had a better time than one of the guys in my class, half my age! I was very surprised at my time, because during practice on a similar course, I scored an average of 09:55 min/sec. I pushed myself real hard because I was afraid of failing by 2 seconds or so....

I hope this gives hope to all the women who are going through similar tests.

Best wishes,

...A woman firefighter in NY State

 Posted 10/30/04 xxxx Reply to:

Greetings --

My letter was signed "Tired of being passed over, NY State." (6-8-04) The good news is: I was appointed!
I have been in basic training for a paid city fire department of 136 men, 1 woman. I will be woman #2.

My training started September first. Some days have been hell, but it has been so for my fellow trainees, too. I am the only woman in a class of nine. (Funny thing is, I have had more FF training and more EMT training than
anyone in my class!) I am halfway through this training.

I have accomplished the 3-minute stair stepper with 70 lbs on my back! It took me a few weeks to get this far. I could do50l bs but the 70 was my stumbling block. My tears were mixed with sweat and weren't very noticeable, nor did I give a damn.

I have been treated very well by the firefighters and officers, (for the most part). I am pretty tuff and I am not young; this helps. I am 40+; the men in my class are around 23-29 years old. There are a couple in my class who do not speak to me. Oh well... their loss. I may not be quite as strong, but my mind is quicker than most and I can fit in tight spaces with ease.

My BIG test is November 4th, it is called the CPAT. I will keep you posted.

Thanks for being there.

A Female Firefighter, NY State

 Posted 10/24/04 xxxx Reply to:

Hello, my name is Genevieve Bures and I am a Certified Fire Investigator in Ohio who is completing my degree at Capital University. My senior paper will be on women in the safety forces. I would like to send a survey to every female firefighter, EMS, EMT, police officer and fire investigator in Ohio. The survey does not require your name or any other personal information, the questions are geared toward the differences experienced by females in the safety forces. If you can help, please e-mail me at .

Thank you,
Genevieve Bures

Posted 10/15/04 xxxx Reply to: or

My department, Lynchburg Fire and EMS, in central Virginia, is currently researching information to plan for the year 2015 in regard to enhancing our employment of women fire and EMS providers. Following are a list of
questions we are researching. It would be great to have some feedback. Also, if someone knows of some existing recent studies that might contain pertinent info, that would be even better.

1. What factors have contributed to the increase in the number of women in Fire / EMS service?

2. Are those factors likely to continue to contribute to further increases in the next ten years?

3. What particular aspects of Fire / EMS make it an attractive career option for women?

4. What options in career development appeal to women?

5. What benefits and working conditions are women looking for to assist them in merging their professional career and personal life?

6. What job skills of Fire / EMS service delivery are, on average, more difficult for women to perform than men?

7. Can the same service delivery be achieved through the use of different procedures or different equipment?

Contact Master Firefighter Jim McCann via e-mail:

 Posted 10/13/04 xxxx Reply to: or

My fiance and I just watched the latest run of "Rescue Me." I have to say we were both disgusted and saddened. He is a firefighter and MICU medic with 20 years; we work EMS together.

I feel so sad about they way they treated the female firefighter in the series and how it's all portrayed. Very, very sad. Concern here is that this is not helping the macho egotism sexisim attitudes and treatment of women in this field. Being one who has suffered and survived this, I find this show dangerous in its encouragement of further perpetration.

 Posted 10/12/04 xxxx Reply to: or

I am a 45-year-old woman who in March received my EMT ticket. I was thrilled because the local fire chief said he would send me to school if I would give him one year after I completed school. Well to work in a fire station after having been a legal secretary for over 20 years was so exciting to me. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I was so happy.

I'm going through a nasty divorce, and while in school my soon-to-be ex kept on telling me that I'd never make it and that I would be an awful EMT, etc. Well, I made it and started to do my observation time with my local station -- (4 full time guys working 7-11 - two shifts - and the nights and weekends are on-call). In the meantime, the chief had decided to go 24/7, and wanted to hire 4 full-time people to complete his full-time staff (working two 10-hour days, and two 14-hour nights and having 4 days off). This of course means building a bunk facility and showers.

As I did my observation time, I realized I was being treated differently than any guy who had done observations. A couple of the guys kept telling me I was getting the run-around and that they don't want me there. When ordering EMS pants, I was told I had to get men's pants, as that was what he had ordered for any female who had previously worked at the station. (They had all quit over the treatment they received.) The lieutenant took a measuring tape and stuck it up to my crotch and was smiling like you wouldn't believe so he could measure my inseam. (These two guys -- one is the EMS Director -- are two of the three guys giving me a hard time). They kept delaying ordering my pants, which finally arrived after a month and a half.

The general standard at the station was evidently to observe 10 runs, drive the ambulance home from the hospital, then the EMS Director (a paramedic -- we are a BLS station) would ask you if you felt comfortable and you would say "yes" and then you could go on call. But that was not the case for me. I had to do "official driver training." None of the guys had to go through this, even if they never drove a truck before. Then I had to do more observation time -- again, none of the guys had to go through this, but I was suddenly told that the standard (no SOP exists) is actually 10-20 runs. More incidents went on, but I managed to get through it, without complaining and figured I can learn if I did more observation, etc.

Once I was finally given the "blessing" of the EMS director, I was on call. But little things kept happening, being done only by a couple of guys. The other guys have been extremely supportive, but the chief really doesn't like confrontation and has no idea at all what I've been through, and would not be interested in hearing it.

Meanwhile the chief posted the position of Firefighter/EMT. The only requirements stated are EMT ticket, valid driver's license, and over 18. (His 19-year-old son is going for one of the positions; he received his ticket in August and is trying to get his observation time with the two guys giving me a hard time.) I have given the chief my resume for the job. His goal is to have the ambulance covered, which I would be thrilled to do. I told him how much I wanted the job, that I realized my being female complicates the issue for him but that I hope he wouldn't turn me down because I was female.

Since I cannot be trained as a firefighter until I'm hired, I must wait to see if they will hire a woman, which I have been told they won't. Four men are going for the job, and I am the only woman. The men who are going for the job, who are currently call firefighters on the department, have either not been on the ambulance in years, have only done three shifts per month since I have been on, or haven't been on the ambulance at all. I have been doing approximately 15 shifts per month (and taking care of my kids, the messy divorce and working two other jobs!).

So, what do I do if I do not get this job which I want so badly? I have kept a journal of the treatment I have received. I never wanted to "play the female card," and just want to work the ambulance, which I absolutely love. I cannot afford an attorney to go after the department. There aren't any departments around who would hire a petite 45 year old female EMT who isn't a firefighter.

Can you help me with any suggestions? I love this job more than anything, and I love helping people (I'm also a CPR instructor). I am finally standing up for myself after 20 years of abuse, and I just don't want these guys to win again.


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