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Houston Pushes for More Females to Join the Brotherhood

Houston Pushes for More Females to Join the Brotherhood

Courtesy Houston Fire Department

Houston Chronicle via YellowBrix

March 01, 2010

Another program, called Third Saturdays, also targets women, who, like all new firefighters, must be 36 or younger when they are sworn in.

Phillips said that over the last couple of months, about 20 women have attended the gatherings, a sort of open house at HFD’s training center near Hobby Airport. Applicants can learn more about the job, including practicing tough physical requirements.

The running requirement — 1.5 miles in 13:07 — trips up most candidates, Phillips said.

The teens at this weekend’s camp were asked to climb pumper ladders, navigate confined spaces without sight, repel down four stories and crawl through a burning house.

Emma Cruz, a member of ROTC and an A-student at Waltrip High, loved it all. She is trying to decide between the military and HFD.

Most girls thrived on the challenges, while some eliminated options.

“This is not my profession,” whispered 17-year-old Francisca Puente. “I think I want to work with kids.”

Being in a burning building wasn’t a thrill for her. “The only thing I wanted was to get out.”

Men volunteering at the camp emphasized that being a firefighter is difficult.

“It’s a struggle for men too,” said John Baker, who has been with the department about eight years.