GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Mulitple Greensboro firefighters say they can count on one hand how many times they’ve worked with female firefighters.
“I’ve never had more than just another female on a truck with me,” Rebecca Smith-Hill said.
“It’s the first time that I had ever been assigned on a truck with three females,” Brittney Price said.
It was an unlikely occurrence that even Captain Mark Schmitt had not seen in his 24 years with the Greensboro Fire Department
That changed on Oct. 31 when two regular Station 19 firefighters traded shifts with two female firefighters.
That schedule swap meant the usual fire engineer for the shift, Brittney Price, would work alongside firefighters Rebecca Smith-Hill and Hannah Johnson.
Johnson posted the news to social media to publicly recognize the unusual but meaningful moment.
“The whole reason I made the post, I want people to see on one hand we want to normalize women to the point that it’s not a big deal that there’s women here, but on the other hand we want to celebrate it and encourage it,” she said.
The crew says the moment is one of several milestones worth recognizing across the department, including when engines were recently staffed with women of color.
“We’re seeing more and more women go through promotional processes to driver, to company officer, to the command staff levels, chief and above,” Schmitt said.
Price, Smith-Hill and Johnson want to inspire girls and let women know they have options when it comes to pursuing a career they love.
“Anything’s a possibility. Just because it’s predominantly a men’s workplace, there’s always an opportunity for you to make your way in it,” Price said.
“You are strong enough. You’re able. You’re smart. This is something for you, too,” Smith-Hill said.
The Greensboro Fire Department has 30 sworn female firefighters and nine women who are civilian employees.
Applications for the 77th recruit class are being accepted until Jan. 31.