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Fire Service Statistics

The following figures reflect both rapid change and the need for still more diversity within the Fire Service nationally.
  • As of the year 2000, women make up 47% of the U.S. labor force. Approximately 5,200 women work as full-time career firefighters and officers, representing just over 2% of the total.

  • In 1998, there were 27,000 African-American and 9,000 Hispanic career firefighters, representing 11.8% and 3.9% of the total respectively.

  • African American women comprise about 10% of female career firefighters and officers. Detroit now has more than 20 African-American women firefighters, including District Chief Charlene Graham, who was promoted in 1996. The District of Columbia Fire Department, which has been one of the nation's leaders in hiring Black women, employs more than fifty as firefighters and an even larger number in Emergency Medical Services (EMS). The Oakland Fire Department currently employs more than 15 Black women out of a total force of 491.

  • In New York City, fewer than 6% of FDNY's 11,000 firefighters are men of color and women are 0.3% (3/10's of 1 %) of the total. NYC's overall population is 30% Hispanic, 25-30% African American, 10% Asian and 51% women.

  • The following urban fire departments (more than 75 career personnel) have the highest percentages of women firefighters: Madison, Wisconsin: 14.8%; Boulder, Colorado: 14%; Clay County, Florida: 13.8%; San Francisco: 11.7%; Montgomery Co., Maryland: 10.2%. However, several large urban departments have no women at all.
Sources: Women in the Fire Service, National Fire Protection Association, National MultiCultural Institute and President's Initiative on Race

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