The Sentinel & Enterprise, a newspaper serving communities in the northern Worcester County and northwest Middlesex County region of Massachusetts, recently noted the steady, but slow rise in female firefighters on a local and national basis. Two women from the Leominster Fire Department - a newly hired firefighter and a 19-year lieutenant - share their career perspective in the article that references NFPA fire service career data.
Lt. Audra Brown said, "You have to have the strength to fight a fire and lift patients and the right personality to do all of it, but I think a lot more women are starting to come out of the woodwork because they're realizing they can do it and want to challenge themselves." One such woman is Kim Bonney who recently graduated (with one other female candidate) from the Massachusetts Fire Academy. Bonney had been a call firefighter in a nearby town since she was 16 years old.
The story referenced a report on NFPA firefighter career statistics that is based on 2012 statistics. NFPA's most recent U.S. Fire Department Profile report with 2014 statistics offers updated data on women working in the fire service, for instance:
- There were 1,134,400 career and volunteer firefighters in the United States in 2014, of which 82,550 (7.3%) were women firefighters.
- The 346,150 career firefighters in 2014 represented a decrease of 2.4% from the previous year. Of the career firefighters 12,100 (3.5%) were women firefighters.
- There were 788,250 volunteer firefighters in 2014, an increase of 0.3% from the previous year. The number of female volunteer firefighters were 70,450 or 8.9% of the total.
Later this year, NFPA will share updated fire services profile data when they release the results of the Needs Assessment Survey.