Tulsa Fire Department Hoping To Attract More Diverse Set Of Recruits

Thursday, January 3rd 2013, 10:43 pm
By: Tess Maune

The Tulsa Fire Department is looking for new recruits. The department has several open positions and anticipates even more in the coming months.

The department also wants to bring more diversity to its team.

The next group of Tulsa firefighters is almost ready to head out in the field. The 29 new recruits graduate from the fire academy in March. But this class, like every other for the past five years, is all men—no women.

"I'd like to see more women on the department," said Captain Julie Lynn.

Lynn has been with the department for 15 years. In her time fighting fires, her co-workers, for the most part, have been men.

"We've got a few women out here on the job and they've got us scattered throughout the city, so primarily most of us work with men and not other women in the department," Lynn said.

5/15/2012 Related Story: Tulsa Fire Cadets Soak Up Training While Fighting Flames

Back in 1991, we introduced you to Tulsa's first ever female firefighters.

"There was two of them and they're both still employed here. One's still an active firefighter on the line," said Captain Stan May.

Today, there are 15 women who fight fires in Tulsa.

May said the department is looking for a well-rounded group of firefighters, who can relate to the public, not just women.

"We're trying to reflect the makeup of the city, what our citizens look like. We're looking for bilingual firefighters, we're looking for women firefighters," May said.

Whoever is up for the challenge must pass a written exam, a rigorous agility test and a series of interviews.

Captain Lynn said the physical aspect of the job is typically what weeds out the women.

"Pulling the hose, pulling our 150 pound dummy through a maze and doing some ladder evolutions, and that's a big part that gets a lot of women, is the physical test that you have to pass," Lynn said.

But in the end, Lynn said gender, race or age is irrelevant, as long as the firefighter can get the job done and keep the community safe.

To apply, you have to go through the Tulsa City employment office.

Once you've passed the three-part application process, there will be a waiting period until the next training academy opens again.