Women in the Fire Service Committee

The FFCA would like to introduce to you a new committee to acknowledge the need for, and help to support, the advancement of women in the fire service through advocacy and training opportunities.

Despite the push for more diversity in hiring, less than 5 percent of career firefighters across the country are women, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Sep 28, 2021.

The NFPA report provides an overview of 29,705 local and municipal fire departments in the country; and estimates that in 2018, only 93,700, or eight percent, of the 1,115,000 firefighters in the United States were female. More specifically, 15,200 or four percent of career firefighters and 78,500 volunteer firefighters or 11 percent were women and out of those numbers only several hundred hold the rank of lieutenant or captain, and about 150 are district chiefs, battalion chiefs, division chiefs, or assistant chiefs.


The FFCA Women in the Fire Service group offers a pathway to provide inspiration for your passions, provide support for your dreams, assist with strategies for your goals and advocate for women leaders in the fire and emergency service. Our goal is to be a powerful community of women who support one another in their greatest and toughest transitions.

We hope to create a diverse group of individuals that support one another in their greatest ambitions, ideas can be shared, and the group will be a resource for chief officers looking for answers to difficult questions.

Vision and Values
  • Courage
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Inclusivity
  • Perseverance
Chantal Botting, MEM, CFO
Deputy Fire Chief
Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue
Contact Chief Botting
Julie Downey
Fire Chief
Davie Fire Rescue
Contact Chief Downey
Background Information

A new report breaks down career and volunteer firefighters by gender; provides industry insight

February 25, 2020 – Recent media coverage has highlighted women assuming leadership positions in the fire service as well as filling rank-and-file roles, but the number of female firefighters in the United States remains relatively low, according to the U.S. Fire Department Profile released by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The news comes at a time when The Los Angeles Times reports that one of the nation’s largest fire departments will fall short of their 2020 female hiring goal, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that women have surpassed the number of men working in America by more than one hundred thousand.

Comparatively, 13 percent of police officers or detectives were female; 21 percent of paramedics or EMTs were women; and 20 percent of the U.S. military is made up of females, with each branch surpassing the number of females in fire uniforms. Women comprise 20 percent of the Air Force, 19 percent of the Navy, 15 percent of the Army, and almost eight percent of the Marine Corps).

The good news is that women in various parts of the country are taking lead roles and getting recognized in their communities. For example:
• Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell was appointed by President Joseph Biden as the U.S. fire administrator on Oct. 25, 2021, this is the highest fire position in the country. The nation’s top female fire leader is responsible for the training of more than 100,000 first responders annually via the National Fire Academy (NFA); the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) which documents and analyzes 27 million fire department emergency responses a year; and USFA's fire prevention, public information, and public education programs. She retired from a 26-year tenure as a senior executive in the IAFF.

  • Tonya Hoover was appointed in early February 2020 as the Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator.
  • Tiffany Green, from Prince George’s County, Maryland recently became chief of the largest combination career and volunteer fire department in the nation.
  • Decatur, Georgia’s top three fire leadership positions are held by women.
  • Fire shifts staffed completely by females are generating attention from many areas in the country.