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Fire Department confronts recruiting challenge as female firefighters opt out

Original post made on Mar 17, 2021

With Palo Alto recordings its lowest number of female firefighters in decades, the city is preparing to spend more time, energy and money on reversing the trend.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 9:04 AM

Comments (9)

Posted by John
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 17, 2021 at 5:41 pm

John is a registered user.

As long as they don’t need to lower standards to reach their recruiting goal it sounds great. Females shouldn’t be prioritized to just be a “calming influence” as the author highlights. She needs to be able to carry a hose and a body just like her coworkers.

Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 17, 2021 at 7:11 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

I agree, John.

As a woman, I'm all for women in such services. However, I would hope that the PAFD hires the best and most capable regardless of things like race or gender.

If any person -- man or woman -- cannot meet the physical standards, then that person should NOT be hired. It would be a terrible crime for a person to suffer the loss of property (or injury) because someone was hired to an intrinsically physical job with lower physical expectations.

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 18, 2021 at 8:27 am

Annette is a registered user.

Other contributing factors may be money and the stability of the PAFD. Women comprise a small portion of the candidate pool and they are in demand, so they can pretty much choose where they land. Palo Alto doesn't fully staff its stations; just this year the PAFD cut several (four?) positions. Add that to the issues described in the article and it's easy enough to see why the problem exists.

Recruiting suggestion: Texas A&M, Oklahoma State. The recently retired State Fire Marshall is an example of the thoroughness of the program at OSU.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 18, 2021 at 8:37 am

Bystander is a registered user.

I do find this interesting. We do need to have women doing all these types of jobs. What about our utilities? Do we have numbers for the number of female line workers, tree trimmers, road construction workers, or female waste workers? Since there is no longer a need for lifting heavy trash cans, there is no reason for physical strength for our recycling truck drivers to be women.

Posted by Squidsie
a resident of another community
on Mar 18, 2021 at 11:40 am

Squidsie is a registered user.

Part of the problem may be cultural. The women I have known who are firefighters and cops have not been emotionally sensitive types who react priggishly to the sort of coarse humor and banter usually found among those who do dangerous jobs and work in close proximity. No one should have to tolerate harassment, but to expect a boisterous station culture to change to accommodate a new person, and for all conversation to thereafter be refined and excruciatingly inoffensive, is unrealistic. Police and fire work is not for the delicate of any gender.

Posted by Allan R Stone
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 18, 2021 at 4:32 pm

Allan R Stone is a registered user.

As a 31 year professional Firefighter in Los Angeles I have proctored scores of Agility tests , Women at the absolute height of their physical ability barley pass Agility tests that men as a whole score 45% faster !
This means women hired barley squeaked by on the physical agility test , every year from then on out they get weaker !
As a tax payer do you want to pay for workers Comp payments and disability payouts ?
Would you buy a car that will only last 3 years ?
No you wouldn’t
But Police and Fire are out in the public and somehow they have become politically correct fashion shows !
Something to consider
Any Olympic endurance or strength events world record by a female would not even qualify them for the Olympic trials

Posted by Angela Lifman
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 14, 2021 at 4:32 am

Angela Lifman is a registered user.

I understand, many people think that a firefighter is not a job for women. This may be true to some extent, but gender equality should still exist. Every woman should be able to work wherever she wants. I recently researched this topic on Web Link for helping students. There you can read a lot of samples and make your point of view. I would not work as a firefighter, but it is great that there is such an opportunity.

Posted by Tessa
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 14, 2021 at 4:33 am

Tessa is a registered user.

#I would not work as a firefighter, but it is great that there is such an opportunity.

Yes, I agree with you. I also want my daughters and me to have the opportunity to work whoever they wish to.

Posted by Lauren P.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2021 at 9:43 am

Lauren P. is a registered user.

>> but gender equality should still exist. Every woman should be able to work wherever she wants.

^ Then this consideration should not pose a problem for transgender (male>female) applicants.

The only issue might be whether this option creates an uncomfortable setting for the other straight male firefighters. After all, they also live and cook together during their regular shifts.

A young Bruce (aka Caitlyn) Jenner would have absolutely no problem passing a strength/agility test.

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