Mass. Fire Department Names First Female Fire Captain

Mass. Fire Department Names First Female Fire Captain

News Feb 14, 2018

MetroWest Daily News, Framingham, Mass.

Feb. 14—When Fire Captain Angela Lawless was young, her father, part of the York, Maine volunteer fire department, would take her along when he responded to emergencies.

"It made a big impact on me," said Lawless, now a Holliston resident.

Today Lawless is Maynard's first female fire captain, the second woman hired on the department—the first full-timer—and one of just two full-time women on staff. She's also been a call firefighter in Holliston since 2006.

"She's been outstanding since day one," Fire Chief Anthony Stowers said. "I've hired a lot of people since I've been chief here in Maynard. She's one of the best people I've ever hired."

That doesn't stop the surprised looks when Lawless or Maynard's only other female firefighter, Wayland's Jessica Gennaro, drive the engine. People point, they said.

Lawless, who's been with the department since 2012, and was promoted to captain Jan. 26, said she hopes to dispel those stereotypes.

She recognizes Maynard's milestone, but said she doesn't think about her gender on the job. In an emergency, she said, it doesn't matter that she's a woman.

"Fire doesn't judge... It doesn't care if you're a man or a woman," she said. "I just feel like I want to do a good job at my role, regardless of gender."

Lawless said she loves everything about the job, but is drawn most to the medical side.

Continue Reading

"I like to have the opportunity to take someone's really bad day and make it better," she said. Later, she added, "I like that you never know what you're going to be doing from one moment to the next. It's never a boring job."

Lawless is a solid problem-solver, Stowers said, respected by her peers, and always willing to go the extra mile. She was the only candidate for the job, he admitted, but no one questioned her promotion.

"Angela's been a role model, not just for women, but for anybody," Stowers said. "She's certainly been a role model for younger firefighters we've hired."

Pointing to the impact of both her biological father's and her step-father's firefighting careers had on her, Lawless said she wants to be a similar positive influence on her new community. As a captain, she wants to focus on more community outreach, from schoolchildren to senior citizens.

She works to stop or at least mitigate injuries and incidents before they happen, she said. That means slip-and-fall prevention for seniors, inspecting daycare centers for baby dangers, and initiatives as simple as reminding people that their house numbers help guide ambulances.

"You'd be amazed how many people don't have adequate house numbers," she marveled.

She also focuses on firefighter fitness, or workouts that translate into on-the-job skills, like slinging heavy objects.

"There's a whole thing about how we're occupational athletes," Lawless said. "We have to be ready to go spend hours in a very taxing environment."

Stowers said his department hasn't had a lot of female applicants over the years, but that might be changing.

"We've just had very few female applicants," he said. "That is changing as time goes on. We have more and more women interested in the job."

Alison Bosma
If you don't desire to influence change in EMS care, then you're an ambulance driver, challenged Maj. Andrew D. Fisher, EMT-P, MPAS, PA-C, during a provocative call to action.
The new Baron eBook details best severe weather procedures for emergency management personnel and public safety officials.
Record flooding in Goshen left residences surrounded, closed main roads, and created a traffic mess.
The Community CaraMedic Program in Asheville, N.C. is the first in the country to have every staff member board-certified in community paramedicine.
A leaking pizza oven forced the building's first seven floors to be cleared; two people had minor injuries.
Evan Travers earned a Life-Saving Award from Learning for Life, which oversees the Fire Explorer program.
That was the total spent in South Carolina in 2016 on overdose admissions and ED visits.
Their bill would deny contracts and tax breaks to insurers who deny claims for nonemergency visits.

Capt. Skyler Phillips, EMT-P, of the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Fire Department, presented a session with personal meaning during the EMS Today conference Feb. 22 in Charlotte, N.C.

Peder Hulen-Ahearn holds a master's degree in Public Safety Leadership and Administration and has worked for Ada County Paramedics since 2001.
ZOLL intends to award medical education grants annually to up to 12 qualifying EMTs who demonstrate a career commitment to the profession.
During his time with the company, Shore has focused on modernization of the agency and creating opportunities for the younger generation in EMS.
Nikolas Cruz posed a dilemma: You can't just kick children out of school because you're afraid of them.
A lawsuit seeks to force continuation of a service the health system says it can't afford.
The agency reported 28 people have been infected with salmonella in 20 states, with 11 hospitalized.