Women still make up just a small fraction of Bay Area’s firefighters

  • Source: The Mercury News - Metered Site
  • Published: 11/24/2021 12:00 AM

For Santa Clara County firefighter Angela Graham, responding to a hazardous materials call at a Stanford science lab, an overturned fuel tanker or a drug lab explosion are all part of her job. “It’s really pretty fun,” says Graham, a hazmat specialist with the Santa Clara County Fire Department since 2006. She’s also one of only a dozen women who make up a firefighting workforce of 221. Despite efforts to diversify its pool of candidates, the department’s share of female firefighters has actually dropped from 7% in 2019 to 5.4% today. Even though the number of women expected to enter a fire training academy next year is 22 — or 13 more than this year — “that’s minimal,” Graham said. “That’s not showing much effort.” Compared to fire departments across the nation, Santa Clara County Fire isn’t an anomaly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 4% of firefighters in the United States are women.


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