by Roland Rodriguez
CORPUS CHRISTI – Fire departments across the country continue to face a significant gender gap. There are 1.16 million firefighters in the United States, but only 7 percent are women, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Corpus Christi Fire Chief Robert Rocha says they are looking for anybody that’s up for a challenge, likes physical work, and serving the public.
And if you are a woman, the Corpus Christi Fire Department wants you. They are currently training 12 recruits, and only two of them are women. Overall the city has less than 20 females in the department.
City officials say applications will not be available until October.
“We would like to be able to recruit more female firefighters for the Corpus Christi Fire Department. It increases our diversity, it increases our ability to reach out to more people, but overall, we believe that female firefighters add value to the fire department and the service we deliver,” said C.C.F.D. Chief Robert Rocha.
The goal is reaching more female recruits, and not just to find women who will fit in at the department, but also who can add to it.
“The simple requirements are that a candidate can be between the ages of 19-35, high school graduate, and a U.S. citizen. If you can meet those minimum requirements, take a written examination, take a physical agility test and pass, they can become a Corpus Christi firefighter,” said Chief Rocha.
When Brittany Fowler was looking for a new career choice five years ago, she says it was her grandmother who suggested she should become a firefighter.
“It is not a boring career. You won’t go wrong if you love helping people, and you love hard work, you are going to love this job,” said Firefighter Brittany Fowler.
Fowler said she is expected to do all of the things that the male firefighters can do regardless of her stature or gender.
“I work with a lot of great males that push me to be better, but also respect me and support me, and help me, and as long as I do my job and I do, I try to push and give my best. If you do that, you will come out here, and you will be successful, you will have a great time, and it’s a great career,” said Fowler.
The hiring process is a very long process. Firefighters have to take a written examination, physical agility test, and an oral interview before they are selected. Once they are selected, they go to the fire academy which is located out at the Del Mar College West campus.
For more information visit: http://www.cctexas.com/fire-department