Firefighters

warriorwoman531 via Flickr Creative Commons

 

The director of New Hampshire Fire Standards and Training says bullying and a rigorous physical entrance exam are the principle reasons why only one percent of New Hampshire's 8,000 full-time firefighters are women.

Director Deb Pendergast tells the Portsmouth Herald that the agility test is given once a year for men and women. She said an average of 10 women take it and three of fewer pass.

She said the test is difficult for both genders, and an average of 40 percent fail it.

Good Gig: Fire Rappeller Jess Crump

Nov 10, 2014
Courtesy of Jess Crump and Siskiyou Rappellers

Good Gig is a series of conversations with individuals who have landed their dream job.

Jessica Crump is a fire rappeller, or officially, a wild land firefighter for the United States Forestry Service based out of Grants Pass, Oregon. Her job is to rappel into places that most of us would run from.

This is definitely not an easy gig, but Jess finds it incredibly rewarding and the perks, for her, make it a great gig.

warriorwoman531 via Flickr Creative Commons

In 1975, Boston firefighters battled more than 400 blazes. Last year, there were only forty. That 90 percent drop reflects a nationwide victory in the crusade against fires, but even as America’s blazes burn out, the number of career firefighters per capita remains relatively unchanged.  

Leon Neyfakh is Ideas reporter for The Boston Globe.