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Local Fire Department Boasts Diverse Staff

AMBOY -- It used to be unheard of, women working alongside men at the scene of fires. It wasn't that long ago that women were not allowed to be firefighters at all. But times have changed, and at one stateline fire house, women are a big part of the team.
AMBOY --  It used to be unheard of, women working alongside men at the scene of fires. It wasn't that long ago that women were not allowed to be firefighters at all. But times have changed, and at one stateline fire house, women are a big part of the team.

The boots, the hat, all the gear locked into place, but behind the mask isn't who you'd expect. We're a very unique community i guess,

Take a look around the Amboy fire house, and you'll notice things are "usually a little more organized and neater," said Chief Jeff Bryant. Thanks to a feminine touch.

"I was overwhelmed by the women that were on this department , um, you just don't see that a lot," said Shannon Glenn, firefighter and EMT.

50 people make up the Amboy Fire Department staff, and 25 percent of them are women.

"We all play equal here," Glenn said. But it wasn't always that way.

"About 25 years ago women weren't even allowed on the department just because their bylaws didn't allow them," said Chief Bryant.

In 2014, it's a different story. Nearly everytime an Amboy fire crew responds to an emergency, there's at least one woman on board.

"We've had the car accidents, and the falls, and the trouble breathing," said Glenn. "It can be anything you never know."

And the physical demands can be extreme. Eyewitness News' Christie Nicks suited up to see just how much the uniform alone weighs. Step on the scale and she rang in at 188 pounds. That's an extra 60 pounds to lug around.

"The guys will push us aside and you know they will do all the heavy lifting but they do look out for us, but we can do it," said Glenn.

They can also come in handy when a traumatized child needs a woman's touch, or in smaller spaces.

"I remember one time the guys put me in  a car for an accident to take care of the patient while they were busily trying to get the car open so we could get the patient out," said Betty Shaw, firefighter and EMT.

A team that works together to protect it's community while supporting each other.

"It's just one big family," Glenn said.

"It's a family, everyone here is family," said Shaw.









 

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