Now It’s Fire Ladies in Sacramento
“They’ve done everything, and done it well,” reports Sacramento Fire Department training director John Lack.
The chief was talking about two unusual rookies. Denny Blehm and Anita Tager had just received their badges as the first two women ever to complete the department’s tough 10-week training program. They are also the first women to receive their badges in any city as large as Sacramento.
Because of budget cutbacks, the two were the only trainees in their course. They passed classroom subjects like first aid and fire theory with flying colors. Physical activities like lifting generators, carrying hose up 100-foot aerial ladders, and even rescuing Lack, entrapped in a burning trailer in a simulation exercise, were all handled capably by the distaff trainees. The girls repeated
their drill for department officials, supervisors, reporters and TV cameras on graduation day.
The women are now in a seven month probation period, and nonetheless enthusiastic, despite learning some hard lessons.
“You always want to do it your way first,” Tager admits. “You learn not to.”
Blehm, a former physical education college student, adds that “every day I spend here makes me more gung-ho about the job.”
Lack says that no exceptions to the open dormitory sleeping arrangements of the department are being made for the women, but that a new bathroom regulation prohibiting occupancy by persons of different sexes, has been posted on appropriate firehouse doors.