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Full-time Female Firefighters

December 23, 1988|Clipboard researched by Susan Davis Greene, Henry Rivero and Rick Vanderknyff. Graphics by Thomas Penix / Los Angeles Times

Other than state and federal anti-discrimination laws, there are no uniform codes governing the hiring of women as firefighters. According to the District Attorney's office, individual fire departments can require applicants to pass skills tests, but the skills measured must be relevant to the particular job.

In 1987 the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee conducted an informal survey of the state's fire departments. The researchers found 404 sworn female firefighters, comprising 2.05% of 19,753 firefighters within 164 departments that responded.

The chart below shows the number of women firefighters in the county.

Total % of Number Women % Change of in the 1985- Fire- Depart- City 1985 1986 1987 *1988 '88 fighters ment Anaheim 3 3 3 3 --- 207 1.4 Brea 0 0 0 0 --- 36 --- Buena Park 0 0 0 0 --- 71 --- Costa Mesa 0 0 0 0 --- 112 --- Fountain 0 0 0 0 --- 37 --- Valley Fullerton 0 0 0 0 --- 91 --- Garden Grove 0 0 0 0 --- 100 --- Huntington 0 0 0 0 --- 132 --- Beach Laguna 0 0 0 0 --- **36 --- Beach* La Habra 0 0 0 0 --- 36 --- Newport 0 0 0 0 --- 107 --- Beach Orange 1 1 1 0 -100 110 --- San 0 0 0 0 --- 24 --- Clemente Santa Ana 3 3 3 3 --- 202 1.5 Westminster 0 0 0 0 --- 63 --- County Fire Dept.** 6 6 6 *6 --- **677 0.9 County Total 13 13 13 12 -7.69 2,041 0.6

Note: All of the fire departments surveyed above include paramedic units except Laguna Beach and Santa Ana.

* Year-to-date

**The Orange County Fire Department serves all unincorporated areas of the county (including Dana Point/Capistrano Beach) , Cypress, Irvine, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Placentia, San Juan Capistrano, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park and Yorba Linda.

In each of the years since 1985, the department has kept one woman on its reserve force, which is very similar to the Orange County Fire Dept. "Paid call" position (see note below).

** Plus 15 reserve positions.

* Plus approximately 31 "Paid call firefighters," i.e., on-call firefighters

**The county has 677 career (full-time) firefighters and 545 "Paid call firefighters"; numbers approximate.

Source: The California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee; individual fire departments

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