TRUMBULL CO., Ohio (WKBN) — There seems to be a growing trend among fire departments in Trumbull County: More women are joining the service.
“I am proud to be one of the few full-time women in this country,” Amerissa Minor, a firefighter in Champion said.
Her cousin Sophia Minor is also a firefighter, but in the city of Cortland.
“I like being there first in someone’s emergency, you know, being able to kind of help them and calm them down,” Sophia Minor said.
The Minor cousins made history by becoming the first full-time female firefighters to work at their respective fire departments.
In the past year or so, two other departments also hired women to fill full-time positions for the first time.
The fire service is still dominated by men. The U.S. Fire Administration says women make up just 5% of all career firefighters. But in Trumbull County, it appears more women are at least showing interest in the job. Just ask TCTC’s Fire and EMS Academy commander George Snyder.
“We are seeing an increase in the number of females that are interested in the career field,” Snyder said. “[Women in full-time positions] had been unheard of in the past. Not because they weren’t eligible, it’s because we didn’t have them available. Now that more and more are stepping up to fill those roles, they’re earning those positions just like anybody else can.”
Out of the 16 cadets enrolled in the program’s junior class this school year, six are women — while of the seven seniors, four students are women.
“It’s very, very encouraging,” said Cadet Allison Lowe. “It makes me happy to see so many women getting out there and making a difference in the world.”
“Anytime that we have new cadets come in, the first thing chief says to us is there are no girl pushups, there is nothing like that. We are here for the equality,” said Cadet Kendall Rumancik. “There’s nothing saying that girls can’t do this.”
“It’s been long overdue to get everybody into the fire service you know diversity, equity and inclusivity is something that has been really important,” Snyder said.
Recent graduates Brooklyn Youngblood and Taryn Baughman are both firefighters and members of the Burghill Vernon Fire Department where Snyder also serves as chief.
“It’s good to be a part of it, really,” Baughman said. “You see there’s a lot of transformation in fire departments now.”
“My end goal is to become an instructor and possibly become a medic,” Youngblood said.
The U.S. Fire Administration says 11% of the nation’s volunteer fire service are women.