Hillsborough Fire Rescue seeks to hire a few good women - FOX 13 News

Hillsborough Fire Rescue seeks to hire a few good women

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Firefighters and paramedics are still male-dominated careers.

In fact, at Hillsborough Fire Rescue, out of 900 employees, only 81 are female.

The department is now stepping up their recruitment of women.

Division Chief Frank Fernandez says they want to be more diverse.

"We want to be a good representative of our community, so that's what we're shooting for. But it's going to take some time," he said.

At Station 14, we found two women working there. Christine Branam is a driver/engineer.

"This is definitely not a career most women go for," she said.

Branam thought she wanted to go into nursing early on. But in college, a counselor suggested she think of fire services as a possibility.

Now 16 years, later she is still with Hillsborough Fire Rescue. She believes everyday she's out working, she's doing a little PR for the department.

"That we are out there, that we do exist, we can do this job, I think the more the women out there see us out here, they think 'hey she's doing it, why can't we do it?' "

Captain Nat Anaya has been with Hillsborough Fire Rescue for 27 years.

"When I first started, I was only the 5th female on the team," she said.

She loves her career, but knows it's not for everyone.

"I think a lot of women don't like to do the dirty work. You can't look pretty when you're at work. It's not their thing to get down and dirty, getting your hands dirty. And it is strenuous," she said.

But Anaya says for those who are active and dedicated, it can be the most rewarding thing you do.

In the next few months, Hillsborough Fire Rescue will target high school seniors. They will talk about the jobs and give details on what they offer.

They think student athletes may be a good application pool because they are active and work well in a team setting.

Starting pay for a Firefighter/EMT with Hillsborough County is $38,660. They provide three months of training, and it's up to the candidate to get their EMT or paramedic certificate.

But they hope to make headway in female recruiting soon. In the last year, Hillsborough Fire Rescue has hired 150 new employees, but only five were women.

For more information, go to hillsboroughcounty.org, or send an email to reserveresponderprogram@hillsboroughcounty.org.

You can also call (813) 272-6600.

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