Fire doesn’t discriminate, but gender plays a role in firefighter safety

Research shows that female firefighters face different risks than their male counterparts


It’s no secret that firefighting is a dangerous profession with a high rate of injury – estimates from the National Fire Protection Association reveal there are close to 70,000 injuries annually. Researchers have taken steps to explore patterns and predictors of injury, but mostly among male firefighters only.

To explore this topic among women firefighters, our team designed a study with qualitative focus groups and interviews to identify attitudes and perception of injuries among females. Our findings were published in the International Journal of Fire Service Leadership and Management.

The sample consisted of 73 current female firefighters and fire service leaders from across the country. In general, women believed their pattern of injuries were similar to men in the fire service. As one participant stated, “Fire doesn’t discriminate. It will kill you either way, whether you’re male or female.”

While fire might not discriminate, there are certain risks that are different for women.

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