Wash. fire dept. staffs first all-female paramedic unit in its history

Spokane County Fire District 8 firefighter-paramedics Meg Williams and Jennifer Raudebaugh said the milestone felt like just another day on the job


By News Staff

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — A fire department made history when the first all-female team in the department's history ran the paramedic unit.

KXLY reported that Spokane County Fire District 8 firefighter-paramedics Meg Williams and Jennifer Raudebaugh didn’t realize they were part of a department milestone when they showed up to work.

Spokane County Fire District 8 made history when the first all-female team ran the paramedic unit. (Photo/SCFD8)
Spokane County Fire District 8 made history when the first all-female team ran the paramedic unit. (Photo/SCFD8)

"I still don't think anything different of it. I just show up for shift," Williams said. "The guys here are really great, so they treat us equal."

The responders said they didn’t realize what they were doing was a first until their captain informed them.

"This is a totally normal shift," Raudebaugh said. "We came up, we got dressed, we showed up and it was not an issue."

Raudebaugh added that her gender has nothing to do with her job.

"The fire doesn't know I'm a woman. The fire doesn't know that I'm a volunteer. It doesn't care," she said. "So I have to be the best that I can be every single day. The public counts on it."

Williams said she hopes more women will join the fire service in the future.

"It is good to have females on crews for those calls where people aren't necessarily comfortable with a man helping them," she said. "It's intimidating to have four big guys walk into your house and say, 'Hey I'm here to help you.' Well, yeah, there's certain things that we don't really want to talk about with them occasionally."

Raudebaugh hopes to inspire the next generation of women.

"I get kind of choked up about it. I want to inspire little girls – like, little girls at the grocery store go, 'Oh my gosh, I didn't know I could be a firefighter,'" she said. "I'm like, 'Of course you can be a firefighter! Why wouldn't you want to be? It's pretty awesome.'"

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