FDNY trying to increase number of female firefighters

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FDNY trying to increase number of female firefighters
New York City firefighter Sarinya Srisakul speaks about her work in the FDNY Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014, at a Manhattan fire house. Srisakul, who didn’t work with another woman for five years, took pictures when she did because it was such a rarity. In the nation's largest fire department, out of more than 10,500 uniformed firefighters, only 37 are women, one of the lowest percentages of any big-city department. That number is expected to grow after a record number of women took the latest exam following heavy recruitment spurred by a landmark court order three years ago, but advocates say more needs to be done. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

The FDNY is trying to increase the number of female firefighters after a report revealed it has the lowest number of women in the United States. Less than one percent of the firefighters in New York City are female, and the FDNY wants to change this. The city may not have to wait long for the change to happen because more women have been recruited.

It surprised many people, but the FDNY has the lowest percentage of female firefighters in the country, according to NBC News. However, it is taking measures to address this issue and has been actively working on recruitment. Currently, there are only 37 women out of a force of firefighters totaling more than 10,000.

The less than one percent of women on the FDNY’s firefighters list has led to many questions among the public. In general, there are fewer female firefighters than male firefighters across the United States. Although the reasons for the low numbers vary, fire departments have been working on increasing these numbers.

One female firefighter in New York City has her own explanations for why the number of women remains low. She has seen and experienced a hostile work environment that ranges from sexist comments to lack of separate female bathrooms. This type of work environment may not attract more women to the profession in New York City.

Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano is determined to make changes at FDNY and has promised the future will have more female firefighters than before. He has noted that recruitment is working with more women applying to take the tests. In addition, a mentorship program for recruits is showing success, so there is hope things will change.

Women who have applied to become firefighters must pass a written and physical test. The physical component is considered to be extremely difficult, and some women are doing special training to get ready. In addition to carrying 125 pounds of gear, they must show they can rescue and carry a person. Women are taking the physical test seriously by spending months in gyms and training centers to prepare.

The makeup of the FDNY may take time to change, but the department is confident women are going to be playing a bigger role soon. Since there are already more female recruits than in the past, it considers its efforts a success and is simply waiting to see how many end up firefighters.



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