Hello, my name is Lacey. 

I'm looking to get in touch with some female fire fighters, and gain insight as to what it really takes. To see for sure if it's something that would be right for me. I've always been facinated by the fire department, and have found it to be one of the most respectful government aligned jobs out there. So if any of you women out there have some advice or tips on what i need to do to prepare my self. Please send them my way. You may also contact me at: Just_lacey86@yahoo.com In the subj to put "FFN". Hope to hear from you soon


Ps: Men please feel free to give me your insight as well
Pss: I am from Wichita,KS to give you an idea of what a women in the department may or may not encounter here.

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Well first off, you really don't need to be spreading this throughout all the forums, this would be a general FF type of discussion. Also if one just goes to the FORUMS tab at the top and hit, "latest posts" the latest discussions and comments come up, irregardless of what forum they are in.

As for getting on the job it truly depends on what you want to do, if you are looking to just volunteer as a FF or become a career FF, there is a big difference in going one over the other.

You say you are from Wichita, I believe that may be a career dept, if so you would have to find out their requirements for hire. A career job isn't like a regular job where you walk in and fill out an application. You have to wait until there is a job announcement, apply, wait, see if you make the cut, take a written exam, wait, see if you made the cut, take a physical agility (most likely), wait, see if you made the cut, do a first interview, wait, see if you made the cut, a second interview, wait, see if you made the cut, maybe a job offer, do a physical, perhaps psych eval, and then wait and see if you made the cut, get hired, start with an academy and then see if you can do the job, then probation.

The job you encounter is going to be the same things as the men and it requires strength, stamina, endurance, etc. Physical abilities aside, there is also understanding of SOG's, training, testings etc. Just looking for a job may be a challenge, some places require education, like an associates, fire certifications, EMT or paramedic, whereas some require that you be 18, HS diploma/GED, and driver's license. It really depends on what you want to do.

My suggestion to see if you would want to do the job, look into perhaps doing a station visit or requesting a ride along. Perhaps check out a local tech school doing a firefighter class to see if you can observe for a couple classes etc. Maybe look into a volunteer dept to see if this is something you want to do. Although most volunteers still have to do much of the same training as career FF's, at least to become certified.
Thank you so much for the insight. sorry for the many posts, i wasn't sure where it would get the most response. I have been reading up on my citys gov site for basic requirements, i'm a little more curious as to how it is for a woman to be in a mans firehouse. If it's easy going...or tension if that makes sense.
i'm a little more curious as to how it is for a woman to be in a mans firehouse. If it's easy going...or tension if that makes sense.

To be honest, every new FF is scrutinized. Having a sense of humor is a big plus and frankly should be a requirement for the job. If you do the job, don't complain, assimilate with other FF's, things go OK.

I can't speak from a woman's perspective but I do work with a few on my dept and have discussed things with a few of them in the past. We did have one woman who made it a year and then quit. It was not because of her treatment on the dept, but because her BF was jealous of her working at a station with other guys for 24 hours....something to also keep in mind. However, she did have to be told what to do, when asked about a monitor told the LT she already knew that, and she would have to be looked for when work was commencing many times. To be fair this wasn't just her and there were a few guys that also had(ve) poor reputations because of their first impression.

So really, it may take a little time, yes you would be scrutinized, but keep plugging away. You are still a proby so do the proby work, that would mean cleaning bathrooms, yes men's as well, you see a full trash can, take it out, know where everything is on the rigs, don't wait to be told to do something etc. If invited to play a game later on, do so, if asked to cook, give it a try, even if you suck at it. Basically don't make it out to be that you are trying to be a woman in a "man's" firehouse, just be another FF.
Thanks john, that was really helpful. I have more confidence already.
Tyler thank so much as well. Like i told john just with this insight from you guys i feel better about it already. Growing up i always was able to hang with the guys and things like that. But sometimes you meet those ones that can be weird about a female hanging around! Thanks guys, Thank you very much!
You have as much a chance of becoming a firefighter as anyone, male or female. The fire service is physical work but has become more technical requiring a better educated person. Long before you and I many departments OJT'd new hires. Many of the promotions are based on testing and I must say that women test very well. So if you study well and you're a good test taker start working on your physical strength. I will agree with John on one thing, you must have a good sense of humor to work in the firehouse otherwise you won't make it. Once the guys and gals find out something that they can give you a hard time about they won't let up until something new comes along or they get the desired response out of you. By no mean should you accept improper behavior from people though. If you get a bucket of water poured on your head, shake it off and go dry off. Then ask what you got next? Do your probation and the next 20 to 30 years is cake. Don't ever quit your job for a man. These jobs are hard to find. Just Do It!
Wow. I am from there. You might want to look into the Wichita Sedwick County Fire Reserve. They are controled by the County, there ST is off of I-35 in Park City. My dad is a LT for Sedwick County Fire and he has a female probie right now. His ST is out in Maize. I dont know when he is on agine, but I will call him and see if you can me his female probie.

Let me compare it to a man in a women's world... I would assume, like
... a man buying tampons
... a man buying lingerie

You get my point - there is a certain (often high) level of discomfort you will need to live with - but if you can woman-up through this... as men do when they go shopping for feminine products and lingerie > then WORK OUT - WORK OUT - WORK OUT (from now until eternity) as you will need physical strength, strong lungs, a healthy body and mind - and READ READ READ (study driving trucks and you will need to know math and problem solving skills and knot tying and fire science).

If you are extremely prone to strong emotional responses consider therapy to build up boundaries between work and regular grief, loss, and sadness happening daily on the job.

Make friends with the local firefighters, they are your BEST resource to get on a department and to learn the local culture and to tell you how to get what you want in your area - PLUS most firehouses are built around "the brotherhood" and relationships are a primary strength in the fire station. Build relationships and LEARN and then ask for honest help on what areas you need to work on and GET THEM to help you. You need a support network of firefighters to get on a department and stay on a department and to work through the hard work and constant stress and endless loss.

Get medically trained - EMT or higher quickly to make yourself more marketable / useful to the department.

Many people find a volunteer department to join for a few years first to build skills, then transition as an experienced firefighter into a career department. Volunteer departments tend to take on new staff more easily and are more generous with the rigors of the rest of your life and family and more willing to individually help you train. In some ways volunteer departments can be more stressful due to inconsistency; while in other ways it can be less stressful since you have some personal power to show up some days and take breaks on other days as you learn to manage the rigors of the workload.

You also are more likely to be successful on a department if you get your family on board to support you - and on days when you have a horrible series of calls - your family can be supportive and encourage you to work through it and get back up on the horse.
Yes, a sense of humor. Men spend endless times talking about the strangest things - like body parts, height, weight, eating habits, and bodily functions. And they enjoy euphemisms for fire trucks parts to relate to sexual parts - such as the male and female ends of the hose line, who can dump the largest load, and endless hose management and pole jokes.

And you work in very very close quarters, so you find yourself straddling someone mid-rescue or other precarious situation, you do not melt down and equate everything to sexually being inappropriate. That being said, be prepared to keep yourself in line and keep those in line around you should they step over the humor line, call them on it and say knock it off.

The natural order is rookies are endlessly harrassed - male or female. If you have any weaknesses, they will find them and pick at you endlessly FOREVER about them - as men think this is good fun. And if you make mistakes, they will pick on you endlessly FOREVER. Once I crashed my personal car (swerving for a car that pulled in front of me) [un-fire department related] but the guys from my 5 neighboring departments harrassed me about it - and called me "crash" - for more than a decade. They love nick-names and it is a form of bonding between them, as you will quickly find they all have little (or big) things they endlessly banter at each other about.

The guys will also have your back, like brothers, and will find your strengths and help you become better and better and better over the years. The more you are able to mold into their world, the longer you will last and the more the men will come to trust you and consider you part of the brotherhood and the less your gender will matter - to them and you.

Make friends with all the wives and girlfriends quickly so that they never see you as a threat. And someone said it earlier - try not to date someone on your department... Date someone on another department if you must, it really messes with the balance of the department - positive and negative.
Matt, that would be absolutely fantastic, a great great help! Please do! feel free to contact me here or in my email Just_lacey86@yahoo.com.

ps: Thank you to everyone for all the replies, they have all been very helpful.
First of all sorry if this sounds sexist not trying to make it sound that way. In my opinion there are 4 types of female firefighters: Number 1 the female who is there to do and can do the job can do it just as well if not better then the guys has a good working relationship with the guys basicly one of the guys. Number 2 the female who got the job just to prove a point, they can do the job but really don't care about it most likely quit after she proves her point. Number 3 the princess fire fighter who barely got through training stands in the back doesn't do anything just there to look and try to date one of the guys these ones have trouble written all over them. Make sure you become an example of my first description of a female fire fighter. I have served with all three types I have described 2 and 3 are nothing but trouble and bring a lot of drama along with them. To make it as a woman firefighter don't take things personal cuz like said before the stuff getting done to you has been done to every probie before you. Since I just made Lieutenant I don't care if the person in front of me or behind me is a female as long as they can do the job. Good luck to you in your adventures to be a fire fighter be safe out there.
I wonder how many "types" of male firefighters there are? And I can't wait to hear what the 4th type of female firefighter is. (I just hope she's hot.)

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