LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Firefighting is a male-dominated profession across the United States. Women only accounted for 3.7% of career firefighters in 2015, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
The Little Rock Fire Department (LRFD) is currently accepting applications for new firefighters. While LRFD officials urge all qualified applicants to apply, they especially hope to see an increased number of female applicants.
"We like our department to mirror the community," said LRFD Asst. Chief Doug Coney. "We encourage people of all races colors genders, we encourage everybody to apply."
Fire apparatus engineer Jennifer Winchell joined the Little Rock Fire Department in 2007.
"When the events of 9/11 happened, it just kind of sparked an interest in me that I didn't really know I had," she said.
Winchell is one of only 16 female firefighters employed by the City of Little Rock. Women account for 3.8% of LRFD firefighters, slightly higher than the national average for career firefighters.
"A lot of women just may not think they can do the job," Winchell said. "But they can because we have female firefighters that can do the job."
She said working as a firefighter is difficult, regardless of gender, and it comes with a set of physical and mental demands.
"If you just come to work and do your job, no one really looks at you anymore as a female," Winchell said. "They look at you as a sister, a teammate and a coworker, and that's probably just one of the best feelings in the world."
The city will accept applications for firefighter positions through April 30.
Applying to become a Little Rock firefighter: