Friday, March 27, 2009

this ain't coffee cream

Being a female firefighter, there are some inherent challenges to the job. Bunker gear and uniforms aren't made to fit a woman's hips so you either end up with pants that are huge at the waist or too tight across the arse. Gloves are for manhands, and airpack straps often don't tighten small enough to fit our waists. But thankfully, more and more manufacturers are making gear to fit women's bodies as more of us get on the job. Departments are realizing that cumbersome equipment is not conducive to working efficiently and safely if you're wrestling with your gear.

Our body mass generally isn't as heavy as the guys. I weigh 145 lbs. The gear we wear on average weighs 50 lbs. So that is 1/3 of my weight. You can see how the 6"4, 200 lb firedude is at a slight advantage. Luckily I've got the legs and thighs of my Mongolian ancestors. Not as pretty as Marilyn Monroe's but heck, they do the trick climbing stairs.

If you're at an older firehouse that hasn't been renovated/retrofitted, you may have to share the bathroom, shower or locker room with the guys. Not as convenient but do-able... just make sure to lock the door when in use.

Time of the month. Aunt Flo is a pita at work. Period. (ok ok... pun intended)

There's always at least one sexist a-hole in the department. But you get that in any field of work so that's not a too big a concern. Thankfully 99% of the guys are incredible people to work with. I trust them with my life.

But the biggest challenge I faced really had nothing to do with the job itself. When I went back to work after my mat leave with Jacob, I was still nursing. I couldn't get the kid off the boob. So back at the firehall, I had to pump between calls and pray that my milk wouldn't let down on scene. And remind the guys that the milk in the fridge ain't coffee cream because firefighters will eat anything that ain't tied down.


  1. i still think its hilarious you have to put a post it on your breastmilk "do not drink, breastmilk"

  2. yep... a yellow post it on my Nalgene bottle ;)