"In 2023, less than five percent of career firefighters are female. Despite all the efforts that we put in to make the fire service more diverse, we’re still at that. That’s only a one percent increase in the last 10 years. That’s not very good. So, it is still history, and it’s still important. Representation is extremely important. I didn’t even know females were firefighters until I was in my 20s – like I just thought men did it." -Firefighter Wendi
Working in public service is difficult enough, but navigating a male-dominated career path as a female brings additional challenges. Fortunately for Wendi, she’s always been ready to rise to the occasion. So, what would she say to other young women interested in joining the fire service? “Just keep going. Don’t let them get you down. Work hard. Get those certifications, and don’t ever stop chasing your dream.”
Join host and former paramedic/firefighter Phil Klein as he sits down with this week’s guest, Firefighter Wendi. After a prior career left her feeling unfulfilled, Wendi decided to go back to school to pursue a degree in forensic pathology. What she discovered instead was a love for the fire service, and at age 32, she finally found her calling. While it hasn’t always been easy, Wendi values the opportunity to help both people and pets, to forge strong relationships between career and volunteer firefighters and members of the community, and to educate others as a fire instructor and CPR/first aid instructor. She shares her thoughts on everything from navigating challenging interpersonal relationships at work to agencies’ policies on tattoos and the slowly evolving views on women in public service.
Thank you for listening to Stories From the Road! If you’re a first responder with a story you’d like to share, please visit the ‘Be A Guest’ section of the Stories From the Road website to learn more about the opportunity to be featured in an upcoming episode.
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