i-Women: No Place for Sexual Assault in Fire Service

The International Association of Women in Fire and Emergency Services (i-Women) released a frank and powerful public service announcement calling for the end of sexual assault, sexual harassment and related criminal acts in the fire and emergency service. The video was created by i-Women with assistance from the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and Comcast Cable in Baltimore.

“Our message is clear: there is no place for sexual assault or sexual harassment in the fire service,” said i-Women President Laura Baker, deputy chief, Tucson (AZ) Fire Department. “We are urging everyone in the fire service to take a stand against this behavior. It should not be tolerated against our own or any others.”

The three-minute video features 2013-14 IAFC President Bill Metcalf, fire chief, North County (CA) Fire Protection District, and U.S. Fire Administrator Ernest Mitchell, a past IAFC president. The video was released in August in Dallas during the opening general session of Fire-Rescue International, the annual conference of the IAFC.

“The integrity of the fire service is being threatened by those who engage in sexual violence and whose actions are supported by those of us who choose to look away,” the chiefs say in the video. “We all have a responsibility to cultivate our fire departments to be law-abiding inclusive organizations in which every firefighter, both male and female, is able to reach their full potential and is encouraged to do so. To be subjected to threatening words, harassing behaviors and sexual assault is unacceptable.”

Baker said she hopes the message serves as inspiration for fire departments to examine their own policies, foster culture change where necessary and “rid our industry of these unacceptable criminal acts.”

A copy of the full PSA can be found on the i-Women website.

About the International Association of Women in Fire and Emergency Services

The International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Services (iWomen) is the leading professional association dedicated to expanding the number of women in fire careers, empowering women firefighters to advance professionally and personally, and prompting the fire industry to be better employers for women. Our 650 members include men and women fire chiefs, fire managers, and hundreds of younger women with leadership potential. More information may be found at: www.i-women.org .

About the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) 
The IAFC represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. IAFC members are the world’s leading experts in firefighting, emergency medical services, terrorism response, hazardous materials spills, natural disasters, search and rescue, and public safety legislation. Since 1873, the IAFC has provided a forum for its members to exchange ideas, develop professionally and uncover the latest products and services available to first responders.

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