It just so happened that the crew listed on the Tuesday night roster at the Pasadena Fire Department was all-woman.
Making history, a fire department in California has appointed an all-woman firefighter crew, CBS Local reports. Firefighting is a highly gendered profession in the United States, with men dominating the field. Therefore, the Pasadena Fire Department's recent announcement is quite monumental. Posting a photo of some members of the crew to their official Facebook page, the city of Pasadena wrote, "FIRST all-female crew in [the] history of Pasadena Fire Department riding together on Engine 34." The crew was highly appreciated for the amazing news, with Facebook users raining praise on the firefighters and the department at large for the progressive move to improve gender equity.
While the move is not a permanent staffing decision, it was still a step in the right direction. CBS claimed the move was "a definite sign of progress." All fire departments are mandated to have a captain, an engineer, and two firefighters available during every shift. It just so happened that the Pasadena Fire Department's roster featured all women on Tuesday night. Pasadena Fire Engineer Christina Terrazas said in an interview with the outlet, "We actually have [women who] have been promoted within the department enough to fill the seats so that we could put a complement of all-[women] firefighters on an engine company."
At present, this fire department has a staff of 150 firefighters—only eight of these firefighters are women. That means the department currently comprises five percent women. Though this is quite abysmal, the national average actually stands a point lower at four percent. Pasadena Fire Captain Tricia Rodriguez, who joined the force in 1994, said, "I have a year left on the job, and I’m like, 'Before I leave I’m gonna make sure I have an all-[woman] crew,' and it just happened today." When she first joined, she was one of four women in the whole department. She has definitely seen progress during her time at the fire station.
For Terrazas, it was just a great experience to enjoy with her fellow women firefighters, a privilege that the men at her department have every single day that they go to work. "The guys get to experience that every day," she said. "And as much as we enjoy working with them and they love working with us, it’s really nice to enjoy this experience today." The state of California has always been cognizant of the stark gender disparity in firefighting. Thus, the Los Angeles Fire Department runs a fire camp crafted especially for young girls. The department then uses this camp to try and recruit students in the future. Later this year, the Pasadena Fire Department too reportedly had plans to establish a similar program. This may just be a small win, but there are definitely bigger victories on the way.