TAKING THE HEAT: The First Women Firefighters of New York City

Women Firefighters Timeline

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The Film | Women Firefighters | Workplace Diversity | Articles | Books | Sources

The Film

Taking The Heat: Filmmakers’ Web site
Visit the filmmakers’ Web site to get the story behind the making of the film, view photos and read a statement from director Bann Roy.

New York City Fire Department
Part of the New York City municipal Web site, this section offers a history of the FDNY, fire safety information, a photo gallery and helpful information for potential female recruits, including tips for preparing for a physical abilities test and finding mentors.

Women Firefighters

Women in the Fire Service
Visit the content-rich site of the national nonprofit created to maximize women’s involvement in the fire service “through education, networking, advocacy and policy development.” Get the latest data on women firefighters, learn about the history of women in the profession and learn more about the issues facing women on the job.

Many Women Strong Handbook FEMA
Read this informational 98-page handbook (PDF) for women firefighters offering information on what it’s like to be a firefighter, dealing with job discrimination, firefighter marriage and reproductive issues and other resources.

United Women Firefighters FDNY
Browse this comprehensive site created by Brenda Berkman and other women firefighters striving to keep the females of the FDNY together “in their professional endeavor of City Service from the first day of their employment until retirement and then some.” Get the latest news on New York’s women firefighters, read a detailed history of women in the FDNY and link and listen to a live feed from FDNY dispatch and truck radios.

Women at Ground Zero
Explore the companion Web site for The Women at Ground Zero Project, a book of first-person stories by female public safety officers—including women firefighters—who responded to the World Trade Center attacks on September 11. The site includes book excerpts, photos and links to newspaper and Web articles.

Camp Blaze
Read about this girls’ firefighting camp, a pilot project sponsored by Women in the Fire Service. The site includes information on qualifications, the group's history and photos of camp sessions.

PBS: Test of Courage: The Making of a Firefighter
The companion site for the documentary about a group of aspiring firefighters—men and women from different ethnic backgrounds, who are competing against 5,000 applicants for only 50 jobs—includes information on diversity in the fire service, a diversity timeline, glossary and more.

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Workplace Diversity

International Association of Black Professional Firefighters (IABPF)
Learn about African American firefighters from the organization created in 1970 to boost African American recruitment and leadership roles, and improve firefighter-community relationships in African American neighborhoods. View photos of African American firefighters past and present, find professional development courses and read tributes to fallen firefighters.

National Association of Hispanic Firefighters
National membership organization of 20,000 Hispanic professional and volunteer firefighters that fosters professional development, community involvement and fellowship building among all firefighters. The organization Web site offers information on upcoming events, news and fire safety materials, including songs for children.

National Association of Gender Diversity Training
Supports and promotes programs and training to assist businesses and individuals in creating a workplace culture of understanding, respect and inclusiveness for all men and women. Web site includes programs, articles and a newsletter.

Legal Momentum
The Web home of the organization formerly known as the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, which advances women’s and girls’ rights through public policy and legal reform.

Work4Women
Visit this virtual community to learn more about jobs that are considered nontraditional occupations (NTO) for women. View a multimedia gallery of photos and videos of women at work, play career exploration games, find employment training and apprenticeships for women and more.

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Articles

CBS News: The Early Show: So Others Might Live
Read this excerpt from So Others Might Live: A History of New York’s Bravest, a book tracing the evolution of the FDNY, including the opening of the department to women.

Independent Women’s Forum: Return of the Guy
Read the 2002 article featured in TAKING THE HEAT, in which journalist Charlotte Allen questions the relevance of women firefighters post-September 11.

The Christian Science Monitor: Women Making History Today: Women Firefighters Struggle For First Rung
Read this 2001 story about how September 11 affected New York City women firefighters’ fight for equal recognition and their criticism of hiring practices at the FDNY.

Firehouse.com: Slow Progress, Dismaying Setbacks as Women Try to Expand Foothold in Firefighting Ranks
This 2005 Associated Press article posted on Firehouse.com explores the resentment suffered by women firefighters from men who do not want them in their ranks.

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Books

Real Heat: Gender and Race in the Urban Fire Service
by Carol Chetkovich

(Rutgers University Press, 1997)
Follow the men and women of the Oakland Fire Department Class 1-91 through their academy training and 18-month probation, and explore how the process of becoming a firefighter interacts with the dimensions of race and gender to support some and discourage others.

Amazing Women: Amazing Firefighters
by Marsh Engle, Gay Reboli and Anna Reboli

(Jodere Group, 2002)
Part of Marsh Engle's Amazing Women book & journal series, this volume is a celebration—in words and photos—of the women of the Fire Department of New York.

Women at Ground Zero: Stories of Courage and Compassion
by Susan Hagen and Mary Carouba

(Alpha, 2002)
A powerful collection of first-person stories told by female firefighters, police officers, paramedics, EMTs and others who responded to the events of September 11 and its aftermath.

So Others Might Live: A History of New York's Bravest: The FDNY from 1700 to the Present
by Terry Golway

(Basic Books, 2002)
New York Observer editor-columnist Terry Golway traces the history of the New York City Fire Department, going all the way back to its origins in New Amsterdam.

Fighting Fire
by Caroline Paul

(St. Martin's Paperbacks, 1999)
A first-person account of being one of the first women to join the San Francisco Fire Department.

Firefighter Exams
by James J. Murtagh

(Barron's Educational Series, 5 edition, 2004)
See if you’re cut out for firefighting with this book of practice exams, including those given by the New York City Fire Department, and a detailed explanation of the physical component that is part of every firefighter exam.

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Sources

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