Special Report: A Day in the Life of a Firefighter, Part 3

Most of the history of women in the fire service is lost, because historians say it wasn't reported or preserved, the way it should have been, so the names of hundreds or thousands of women who served their communities on bucket brigades and fire watches have gone up in smoke.

In our Special Series, "A Day in the Life of a Firefighter", the story of female firefighters is told.

Women in America didn't receive paychecks for fighting fires until the 1970's, but they've been serving their communities as firefighters since the 1800's, but now, things are changing.

"It’s challenging but rewarding. It’s something I believe tradition is becoming overcome by progress," says DO Judy Davidson.

Judy Davison, a driver operator, for Station 2 says it’s not just the profession that's changing.

"People realize women have something to offer into this department and its not so much a male dominated society. It brings out the best in who you are as woman, a man, a person," Judy adds.

At this point driver operator Judy Duncan has more time with the department than most anyone else, at 20 years. She says she loves her job, but there's a line she walks, as a female firefighter.

"I get along with all the guys. It’s kind of a fine line. You have to be close with the guys, and the fine line is that you're not," Judy also says.

An association for female firefighters says that even today, there's some who don't believe women are capable of the physically demanding job. Lt. Lori Brady disagrees, and her answer to anyone who doubts a woman's ability to do the job, is teamwork.

"Watch us work, we maybe stronger that you realize, team effort, if you need to be saved, we'll do what's necessary.”

And over the years, these three women have made their marks in their respective stations.

If the women who volunteered in the 1800's with the bucket brigades could only see how far women have come. Today, experts estimate in the U.S., there are more than 6,000 female firefighters. In the state of Florida, there are more than 750 women working as paid firefighters.


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