Hey gals, I have another question to pose to you. How do you get along with the guys on your dept in social situations, such as going out on the weekends, or grabbing some beers after a late call? Part of why I got into firefighting was because I wanted to be part of that brotherhood, where you know and take care of each other and each other's families. Well at my dept, the brotherhood and love seems to be lacking already, but I can't help feeling like I am being purposefully excluded. The guys all go out together and drink and party on the weekends, and no one ever calls me or invites me, despite me saying that I would like to be called or go out with them once in a while. Also, brand new (male) members that got on after me, are included in things such as firefighter's kids bdays at the park, etc. I am friendly at the fire station, say hi to everyone, crack jokes, ask ppl how they are doing, how's life, how's the family? I don't know what more I can do to make this a good and happy experience. What started as something that was supposed to be a joy, is now feeling like an obligation. Any words of wisdom?

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I have no idea why you girls want to hang with your male co-workers outside of work! I go to work to do my job and then I go home, like 50 miles away, thank god. I don't trust a single person I work with because it seems like all people want to do is talk bad about others. I never complain or talk bad about other people unless what I had to say could be said to their face. I am always hearing it and it really gets old. It seems like it is hard to get stuck with a good crew with positive people. This is a really great job, the days off rule... but sometimes I just think I want to get the F out of here. I often think about changing careers. I'm a very hard worker and I pull my own weight, I suppose I am a well liked person as long as I'm not being too quiet. I guess I feel that I don't have the heart desire to move up in this career and I do not want to do this job for the rest of my life. Does anyone feel the same as me? I have NO one I trust to talk about how I feel and this is the only place I can... and hopefully get feedback. I can't see me being 35-40 years old and riding on a tailboard. I'm tired of feeling lonely with no one to talk to, there is another female on my shift but we hardly see each other. I am weary of her anyway. She likes to gossip. Anyway...
I have been really lucky.. there isn't a problem with being a girl in my dept. We have only 2 girls, me and one other. A few others have tried and quit, but it was because they weren't fit enough or willing to put enough effort into it.

I've also done wildland... last summer I was out on a fire for 14 days as the only girl in my crew... me and 19 guys. I think what allowed me to fit in was that I was that I kept the really "feminine" side tucked away. I think I made it clear I wasn't interested in a relationship, nothing I did could have been taken as flirting. We never set up tents, so we were all sleeping out under the stars together, all changing in our sleeping bags/out in the open, etc. It could have been awkward, but it wasn't.

I noticed with the wildland guys that they were stiffer with me at first. Afraid of offending me, I think, with all their dirty jokes, and crude humor, but I just rolled my eyes at them and said I don't care. By the end, it was like I wasn't a girl anymore, I mean, they knew I was a woman and thought I was all the tougher for doing what I do, but they weren't looking at me like a woman. When you start hearing how much they miss their girlfriends and exactly what they want to do to them when they got off the fire... you know you're just one of the "guys."

In my fire dept. I'd overnight at the station with 3 guys once a week. Never had any problems, in fact, those were the best nights of the school year, hanging out with them. There was one guy who's girlfriend threw a fit, but he broke up with her later because she was getting so overprotective she wouldn't let him talk to any other girls. Most of the guy's girlfriends/wives are involved somehow with the dept. They visit the station, they help us with some of our community outreach, and I've never had a problem. I enjoy all of those I've met.

I don't know your situation... but what's worked best for me is downplaying my being a girl. Just don't mention it. Some girls use it as an excuse, some like to flaunt how they're so tough because they're a female ff. I don't dress in a feminine fashion... too lazy to put the effort into it, but I think the guys would see me differently if I had make-up or jewelry on at the station. Maybe try cooking dinner at the station, say you felt like trying a new recipe and need some help eating it. Guys tend to be suckers for food, might get you some attention, and then some conversation around the table.

Good luck! I hope it works out for you!
I was really fortunate with my crew. It took alittle bit of time but I'm totally one of the guys now. Hang in there. I think they will come around.
It sounds like you are going about it the right way: the joking, asking about their families etc. Are you married/dating someone that you could bring with you on the outings? That could help to show you ARE there for the camraderie, not to "steal away her man" (if that is what the problem is). My husband likes to stop by the station and he really likes the guys I work with. Plus, it REALLY depends on how happy/satisfied everyone is with their individual familial relationships as to how you are treated sometimes. There will ALWAYS be individuals that won't want to extend their hand in friendship, but alot of times if even just ONE person in the group makes the effort to include you into the "fold", the rest will soon follow. I hope your situation has gotten better for you!! :)
i know that in my department there is a group of about 7 of us that are supper close we hang out all the time and stuff its great! sometimes io think that being really good friends makes us closer like in real sittuations too. i grew up with that whole group and they are my big brothers kinda more than just the firefighting brotherhood aspect of things. and yea alot of rummors start! people have to be dumb and thats wow it goes but you just gotta figure out if that all is worth it to you and its what you want. firefighting is great i love it!--and i think that evry woman firefighter has some sort of issues or concerns with the social aspect of the brotherhood bnut they are probably the best and craziest friends you will ever have
Just had to say good point on the rumors. Have to deal with that one here and there. Mostly the rumors come from other dept. We usually can get a good laugh out of it though.
I'm the first female resident or career firefighter that my department has had (they've had a couple of female volunteers in the past). The guys have all been great, but the city is terrified of issues. We all talked about some things before I moved in, like if their comments/jokes were offending me I would say something, but otherwise they would continue as normal and consider me one of the guys. The city made a big deal about facilities and harrassement training, so now the only real mention of the fact I'm a female is in joking about the training. We all pull each other's chains and once in awhile they make sure I know they're joking. They only pick on their firends, and they added me to that category in a matter of weeks. I haven't done much with them outside the station, but that is where 6 of us college ff/emts live. THe career guys are good about hiring the college guys for work they need a little help with, mowing their lawn when they are out of town, putting in a hottub at their house, etc. Sometimes they pay us with money but often they pay us with food because they know as poor college students living in the station that is our biggest expense outside of school. I'm really close with one of the guys on the training shift because he understands some of the decisions I am having to make about my future and I am really close with the four guys on my shift because those are the guys I spent the most time with. I have met all the wives and gfs, and as far as I know none of them have any issues with me being there with their guys, one of the guys on my shift is dating a firefighter from another dept, so she is totally understanding of the brotherhood relationship, instead of being threatened by it. Some of the guys have even talked about letting me go on their hunting trips with them (definitely their guy time each year) since they know I am interested in guns and don't mind the killing animals part. I think the biggest thing in getting involved with the guys is being interested in their lives (though make sure they and the wives/gfs know your intentions) and letting them know the things you are interested in doing and invite them to do things with you instead of waiting for an invitation. In my situation it probably also helps at least in relationship to the career guys that I am at least ten years younger than all of them so they are filling more of a mentor/big brother role.
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Well I am blown away but what read see here! Well let me say that I must be really lucky, because I have a group of firefighter who are able to see past differences. People brought up a couple different issues so heres my take on them:
I have heard alot of "blah blah blah Im girl, I dont get invited!" Maybe its more you dont get invited because your not part of their 'circle' yet. Make an effort to spend more time at the station, engage in conversation more. Ask for help with something you might be struggling on (or not {no matter what they think they will be better than you, so let them teach you}) and allow that to create a bond. Ask them what made them join, or how they delt with certain things you maybe going through. Make sure you go to all the department social events and always be willing to help out. And if you dont get invited somewhere dont be upset, you have to remember some of these guys may have been friends long before meeting you.

As for the jealous girlfriends / wives, well once again I was blessed with not dealing with that. You should make every effort to introduce yourself as a firefighter, this establishes early that you acknowledge they are 'his' girl and you respect that. Also ask members about their families, so when you see the wives/girls you have something to chat about. I have babysat for a number of different members, its a great way to see your fellow member in a different light and bond with his family. (after all your his second family and they have to trust you to have his back).

If your officers are telling members to treat you differently, well there in lies a problem with your officer. You need to discuss with him that you are a member here and would like to be treated as such. Of course they will always consider you a step below, but thats an obstacle that we will always deal with. Use your strengths, for instance alot of members considered me a joke at first, but I worked very hard and won over the younger crowd who was impressed with my dedication to training and knowledge of service (which all I did was read the text and retain the info). Then I joined the fundraising committee, which needed some serious organization, which was a sinch for me. I ran a couple of fundraisers with out a hitch and impressed the older generation.

I have had several members tell me, I am like a sister or daughter to them. And as usual most men dont invite there sister or daughter out to gamble, drink, stuff dollars in strippers g strings ya know, but I do get invited to bbqs and kids birthday parties and all that. I have spent my fare share of late nights at the FD pounding beers and shooting the shit, but when I do I am strictly a firefighter not some chick.

I hope this helps someone... and to
Lilfish: I think its really sad you dont trust the guys you works with, thats what were all about. I hope things get better for you!

I lived in a town of 500, and was the first and only girl to ever get on the department. I was married when I joined, but that didn't make a difference. The "boys" were more than willing to invite me to the bar for a drink or down sturgeon fishing, or all the things they had always done. It was the wives who threw a fit. I was just there to be a firefighter like everyone else.... NOT go trolling for their men. I already had one I had a world of problems with. I had been there 2 years and things were finally ok. Wives had accepted that I was not going to cause trouble or steal their guys when I got divorced and another volcano erupted. Now all of a sudden I was back to being "dangerous" even though I thought I had proved myself. I had just gotten out of a horrible marriage and anything to do with a guy was faaaarrrrrr from my mind. Especially with a married guy as my divorce came from him cheating on me. I would never to that to another women. It never did get better. I moved after my divorce to a slightly bigger town where there was another girl on the department and it was much better. I was suddenly friends with everyone, including the wives, and now have lifelong friendships out of it.

Some departments are just harder to deal with than others, especially being a girl.

I agree with getting to really know them, and their significant others. Its important that the wives don't feel threatened by you as a female.
I am lucky enough to be a firefighter and married to one. Our station and my brothers and sisters are excellent. We all know each other, and our families.

Also remember, you can't make everyone like you. Its a fact of life. The ones that don't, well that's their problem.

As to the post below about the GF's getting pissy.. Jealousy on their part. I agree with her statement that some of the FF's are afraid it will cause rifs in their personal relationships. Stay strong and keep trying to reach out. If it never happens, think about transferring to a different house.

I am so grateful and lucky to have the firefighters we have up here in Grand County. There are a bunch of female FF, and everyone gets along

Have you tried asking them instead of them asking you? It could help if they're too nervous to ask a female FF to go out and party with.


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