News from The Roanoke Times-Women fighting fires, stereotypes

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Update: is running this story now. You can view it here.
Women in the fire service. To me that is as normal as running EMS calls. I wonder how it was on the day, in any department, when the Chief said that a women would be working there. I would imagine it was culture shock. I am sure it was not easy on the women. Some can probably relate it to the days of hiring the first black firefighters. It seems as though most firefighters nowadays don’t care about their coworkers color of skin or gender, rather they want to make sure that the firefighter next to them inside a burning building is capable of doing the job. I believe that the CPAT testing puts an emphasis on ensuring the capabilities of the recruits. It seems to me that the “stereotypes” which the newspaper article speaks of, have been left by the wayside.

The women of Fire Departments in the Roanoke Valley have made their stake in the progression of the Fire Service and will undoubtedly make a profound effect on the history in the Valley. From the first women who began in EMS and later became firefighters to the ones who have been hired into the Roanoke Fire-EMS Departement as firefighter/EMTs.

News from The Roanoke Times-Women fighting fires, stereotypes:

Women fighting fires, stereotypes
Of the 452 career firefighters working in Roanoke, Roanoke County and Salem, only 13 are women.

By Christina Rogers

Along a hallway in the Cave Spring firehouse hangs a row of grainy black-and-white photographs with scenes of dirt roads, wood-frame fire wagons and all-male fire crews.

Natalie Dibling, a 25-year-old firefighter with the Roanoke County Fire and Rescue Department, walks by these pictures each workday, a seemingly stark reminder of the once impenetrable brotherhood.

But she simply shrugs them off. After all, she’s not a firewoman but a firefighter, and “being a girl” doesn’t have much to do with how well she performs as a member of her eight-person crew — all of whom have their individual strengths and weaknesses, she said.

“I kind of stick out like a sore thumb, and I don’t,” said Dibling, a Virginia Tech graduate who joined the department in November.

Her job as a firefighter is just that — a job. And a rewarding one at that. Starting salaries hover around $30,000, and three Roanoke Valley fire departments — Roanoke, Salem and Roanoke County — pay for medical training and community college courses. Some women in Dibling’s department even prefer the shift work, saying it gives them more time to spend with their families. (Read More)

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