GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Greensboro Fire Department has seen an increase in women becoming firefighters.
The growth has prompted the department to move forward with private spaces for women at stations that don’t currently provide the option.
Fire Station 4 is the busiest in the city.
It was built in 1961, but as times have changed and the building’s function has too.
Greensboro fire is renovating an old boot room there to create a locker room for women.
“On the fire department now, we’ve got 31 females. This is our busiest station and a lot of people want to be at this station, but there were limitations to females,” Assistant Fire Chief Dwayne Church said.
Emily Specht is a firefighter at Station 4.
She doesn’t mind the current system she and her team have in place.
“Me and my crew are very good at communicating. When I need to go to the restroom I'll let them know and they won’t come into the bathroom, or if I take a shower they won't come into the bathroom,” she said.
But Greensboro fire wanted to at least provide the option of something more convenient.
It’s something Specht appreciates and firefighter Brittany King does too.
“I think it's a great step forward that they are including us and making sure that we have our own spaces in our fire stations,” King said.
However, Specht, King and other female colleagues say they do not want separate living quarters.
They believe interaction in those areas is critical for building camaraderie.
“The privacy is nice sometimes, but I like being around my guys,” Specht said.
“It’s really important that we all are together for the majority of the day just so we can spend time together. We can talk and train,” King said.
“We know that we're women, but we want to be treated like any other firefighter,” she said.
The Station 4 locker room is expected to be ready mid-June.
Church says the work at Station 4 is the first of many similar projects the department has planned for other stations.