FDNY History Made Today As 9 Women Are Sworn In To Probationary Firefighter School

July 22, 2013 by
FDNY
HistoryNewsWomen's Rights

This morning history was made in the New York City Fire Department (FDNY), the largest and most elite fire department in the world, when 9 women were sworn in to the fire academy along with 311 men. Nine is the largest number of women to be sworn into an FDNY firefighter class in almost 31 years since the landmark class of September 1982, which included the first 40 women ever to be admitted to the New York City Fire Department thanks to the game changing lawsuit led by trailblazing WYSK Brenda Berkman.

The July 2013 class will be the second of this year and will be a mix of EMS promotional hires, priority hires of the Vulcan Society diversity lawsuit and candidates from the open competitive list. It will be a diverse class, in terms of race and gender. Among those being sworn in, there will be 1 Native American, 6 Asian-Americans, 86 Blacks, 117 Hispanics and 106 Whites. Out of the 9 women, 4 are Black, 2 are Hispanic, 2 are White and 1 is of Asian descent.

The first graduating class of 2013 (from May) included 5 women… the most women to have graduated from a single class since 1982. The July 2013 class has almost double those numbers.

FDNY patchThis is a very exciting time for women firefighters in the FDNY. Currently, there are only 34 women firefighters out of a force of nearly 10,500. A record breaking 1,952 women took the last firefighter exam, which are more women than the last three exams combined.

With the FDNY’s continuing commitment to diversity, the United Women Firefighters Association of New York City Inc. says, “we can realistically expect to see the number of women firefighters double, triple or more, thus radically changing what the FDNY of today looks like.”

  • nico

    Sorry but fighting fires in New York is not a place for a female. I wouldn’t want some 110lb “Quota Female” coming to rescue me if my house were on fire. Welcome to the age where political correctness trumps logic, rationality and safety.

  • Thomas McLoughlin

    Unfortunately, the FDNY’s commitment to diversity wasn’t an addition to their high standards – it’s replaced that commitment. Color and genitalia count more than merit, more than a candidate’s desire to work hard and prepare themselves to score the highest possible on the written and physical exams. The cowards in the job who caved in to those not on the job without the integrity and pride to earn their right to wear the uniform should all be ashamed of themselves.

    • Jesse

      So Thomas are you saying that not a single member of this diverse July 2013 class has strong passion and pride for this noble job they are pursuing, nor did any of them possibly score well on the written and physical exams? Seems like an inconceivably broad, not to mention incredibly belittling, claim to make about people you likely do not know personally.

      • Thomas McLoughlin

        I don’t see that in my comments, do you? What I said was standards have become non-existent in the FDNY, and that’s a shame. Not only for the citizens relying on them, but for the individual men and women who get onto the job only because of their color or genitalia and will never know the true pride of being a member of that job. Standards are man-made, and I’ve got no problem with examining them or modifying them in order to promote diversity, so long as in the end all have an equal shot and the best qualified are the first hired. This latest exam was designed by the Vulcan Society, found by the courts to be non-discriminatory in it’s design, yet when not enough “minorities” (including women) passed it, that same court found the “results” to be discriminatory. What that means is beyond me, other than a free pass to those who didn’t train hard enough or long enough to get onto the job, and a free pass to the unemployment line for the men who did work their ass off for this supposedly merit-based exam, passed it with high marks, then were told they’ll never be hired because someone of another color or someone with a vagina wanted their job and the city was going to give it to them. What’s belittling is denying white males an equal shot at the job, not giving a black male or any color female a job they didn’t train or study hard enough for. And yes, Jesse, I know some of these people personally.

        • Jesse

          Thanks Thomas. You are obviously closely connected to the issue as you have specifics and details of which I was not aware and I appreciate you sharing. I agree with you that everyone should have an equal shot at the job and that the best qualified should be the first hired. I just can’t believe that not a single person that falls under the “minority” category in this latest class isn’t truly fit for the job and passionate about doing whatever it takes to be the very best at it, which is what I took your initial comment to imply.

          I can only assume you are a firefighter. If I am correct, I would like to thank you for your service. Coming from a family of first responders, I know it can be a thankless job.

          • Thomas McLoughlin

            It’s far from a thankless job, Jesse. Maybe more so for a volunteer, someone getting out of bed at 3 AM and no one other than a spouse seeing or appreciating their sacrifice. But for FDNY members, and many other paid and unpaid first responders, it’s a very rewarding job. It was for me.
            I’m a small guy, got on the job in ’79. I studied and worked out and prepared myself for the exam and came out near top of the list of 35,000 men. Not bragging in any way, just saying that if a guy my size can do it, if I can beat out 35,000 mostly bigger, stronger men, then anyone can who wants it bad enough. And that’s what it was for me – I got on the job because I wanted it more than some of the other candidates. But when you create a quota system, when you pay for the entrance fee for everyone other than the white guy, when you actually pick them up from home and drive them to the exam (as they did in NYC) then tell them it’s ok if you fail the test because “the results were discriminatory” so your score doesn’t matter, we’ll hire you anyway, then you’re going to get a lot of unmotivated men and women with no love for the job, no sense of tradition, and no inner fortitude to crawl down that hallway to find that poor trapped soul. I want men and women in that hallway who fought to get on the job and came out top of the list, not someone who were so unmotivated they had to be driven to the test by bureaucrats who paid their $15 entrance fee for them while overlooking/excusing their criminal records and lack of educational achievements. After 9/11, this job has gotten so much more complex with so many more dangers the men and woman of any fire agency must be prepared to deal with, none more so than New York City, yet this city has chosen to bow down to political correctness and virtually eliminate any semblance of standards, endangering all the citizens of NYC, as well as every firefighter working alongside a new recruit who wasn’t able to pass the minimum standards of the entrance exam. It’s scandalous and reckless, but it’s politically correct, and the cowards who allowed this to happen will have blood on their hands when citizens or firefighters die as a result of this gutless decision.
            Strong feelings, no apologies, but I do thank you for your kind words, Jesse. My best to you and my thanks to your family for their service as well.
            Regards,
            Tom