Handbook on Women in Firefighting: The Changing Face of the Fire Service   [open pdf - 1MB]

"Fire may know no gender, but people do, and it is the fire chief's job to manage people much more often than he or she manages fire. Women and minorities are forming an increasing part of the workforce and the labor pool. Fire service managers in the 1990's have an opportunity to attract the best of that pool by creating a work environment that welcomes the participation of all. Facilitating teamwork in a culturally diverse fire department may be the biggest challenge currently facing fire chiefs. Those who are not prepared to manage a diverse workforce may find that the workforce is managing them instead. It's not enough just to say, 'We'll hire anyone who meets our standards.' How are those standards set? Can they be justified? What happens to someone who 'meets the standards' but faces a barrier of hostility and opposition from coworkers? What support systems are available for workers who are not part of the dominant group? Simply having policies in place that appear to be neutral, or are applied equally to everyone, does not necessarily create equal opportunity. Altering the identity of people in a fundamentally unaltered workplace can leave the door open to friction, miscommunication, and a host of inequities that can result in poor performance and a loss of teamwork."

Report Number:
FA-128/January 1993
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Lessons Learned Information Sharing (LLIS)
Media Type:
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