Crew of all-female firefighters makes history in Florida
These trailblazers are setting the status quo on fire.
An all-female crew of firefighters from Florida are sparking inspiration in young women everywhere after being called to serve together on Sept. 18.
“We’re breaking barriers,” said rescue lieutenant Krystyna Heiser Krakowski, who led the heroines of the Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue. “It’s the first time we had in our department a female as a captain, a driver, a firefighter, rescue lieutenant and a medic,” she told their local NBC News outlet.
This is indeed a first in the history of the department, since it was founded in 1963.
“Women can do it, too,” said Krakowski. The momentous occasion was marked by some “laughs and jokes, unfortunately at the men’s expense.”
“Because we were running the show,” she added.
The event became especially symbolic after the southern Florida fire department learned that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a pioneer for gender equality, had passed on the very same day.
“That day the stars aligned and it happened to be the day that Justice Ruth Ginsburg passed away as well so it made the event even more special,” said James Ippolito, Palm Beach Gardens’ deputy fire chief of operations.
Krakowski is urging women to continue raising the bar within traditionally male professions.
“We can do anything, we are capable of anything, don’t let anyone stop you,” she said.
It may actually behoove fire departments everywhere to add more women to their engines, according to a recent study that revealed how they might help improve protocol — as they usually set a higher standard for best practice.
Although women make up just 3.3% of all firefighters nationally, their presence could hypothetically improve fire safety because they often seek more ergonomic techniques to perform physical tasks, are motivated to report injuries and ask for help and can help shine a light on how hostile work environments erode safety. That’s according to FEMA-funded research published in the Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health.
“We use better technique and a lot of guys get hurt because they just try to muscle it,” said one study participant, “or god forbid that they ask somebody for help.”
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