“Yes I know being a female firefighter isn’t typical but that’s the job i chose…And I am proud of it”- unknown
More and more females are starting to work in male dominated fields and one of them is being a firefighter. For females it is not an easy task to take on whether you are a volunteer firefighter or a paid firefighter. We are females that don’t want to be treated different from the men and don’t want to be sugar coated either. We want to do the same things that the men are doing and know that we are capable of doing that job. We also know that we are rare breed and have to help and support the other females who may feel left out or down.
So then why are females deciding to join the fire department? Honestly, we most likely don’t have a specific reason why we decided to join. Some of us joined because it runs in our family and that is the only thing we know really, others joined because they feel like they have to prove that they can do a man’s job, while others joined because they want to help others in a time of crisis. To us, we don’t see firefighting as just a man’s job, we see it as a place to help people and know that as a woman, we could be more useful than a man at certain calls, especially when it comes to children being involved. We have that mother instinct where children feel just a little bit more comfortable seeing or talking to us.
Even though we love what we do in the fire industry, most of us deal with a lot of issues and some are great while others are difficult for us. The biggest issue that women have is just being in the fire industry is a challenge in itself. Most of the fire departments are made up of men and finding a female in the department is very slim. We have daily battles and some of these battles take a toll on not only our mind and body but also our relationships with co workers, friends and family. One of the daily battles that most females deal with is that it is hard for us to communicate with our own department members, family and friends.Some of us don’t have that female companion that went to the call with us because we may be the only female on the call or in our own department, so talking with the guys about the call will be a bit difficult due to us having different emotions or feelings on what we may just saw or have experienced. Some of us also have to deal with some of the old school members who don’t see women belonging to the service. Some members grew up with firefighting being a male job and not a female job. While more departments are getting females to join, there is still going to be the one person who thinks that the female can’t do the same job. As being a female firefighter, one of the biggest issues is whether you can be friends with the other firefighters outside of the firehouse. Some members you can go get a drink with and just talk while others won’t hang out with you but will hang out with the other members. This is an experience where some of the guy’s significant other gets jealous and believes that they can not be friends with a female firefighter and sometimes believes that there is something more going on. When you work and train with other members, you get to know them better and sometimes it is easy for us to click with them. At times it is a lose lose situation for us and have to deal with it whether we like it or not.
Even though most of the odds are against females, there are also positive things about being a female firefighter. One of the best parts though of being a female firefighter is that when there is a bad call and there are kids involved, we as women have that mother instinct and will do whatever we have to to make sure the child is taken care of. The best feeling though is when we respond to a call and see a girl watching us work with a bunch of males and you can tell that her eyes are more focused on us and watching every move we make. We know that this could make her feel like if we can do this job then she can also do it.
We are the role models for the younger females and are showing them that they can do the same thing and that their gender does not matter. It is a nice feeling when you get told by a little girl that they want to grow up and become a firefighter or when a young female comes up to you and tells you that you had an impact on her life whether it was during fire prevention week or from a call. As women, we are a rare breed but we are unstoppable when it comes to working in a mostly male dominated field.