ALBERT LEA, Minn. – In the past, a person’s gender often defined which career fields they would enter — but even as times have changed, very few women have taken on roles as firefighters. In Minnesota, a new report suggests the number of female firefighters remains low.
According to a report from the Minnesota State Fire Marshal and Minnesota State Fire Department Association, there are less than 1,000 female firefighters across the state.
Capt. Scott Hanna with the Albert Lea Fire Department says many factors have led to the low number of female firefighters.
He says the job is dangerous, stressful and the hours can make it difficult to raise kids, but adds there is one component of the job that no longer stands in the way.
“More females are being educated as to what the physical demands are,” said Hanna. “I believe you see a lot more women understanding that being a female isn’t a detriment to physical challenges. It’s just a matter of how you address it.”
He says although there isn’t a female firefighter currently at the ALFD, there have been many qualified applicants in the past who have been offered positions.
According to the same report, only about 4 percent of firefighters across the nation are women.