Apr 28, 2013 8:43 PM by Jessica Holley - email@example.com
ROCKPORT - Firefighters put their lives on the line every day but fighting fires isn't just a man's job anymore. Local fire departments have more women than ever before. From a distance, it's hard to often tell who's who with all the gear the fire fighters are wearing.
Not all are men behind the helmets and jackets, however. In fact, in Aransas County about 10 women serve their local volunteer departments; like 5th generation fire fighter Gillian Cox.
"Times changed," Cox said, "and we have something to benefit we have something to give to the fire service."
Most people assume volunteer firefighters are mostly men, but times are changing. A question most people wonder, "can the girls keep up with the boys?" Cox says yes.
"First in on a nozzle, I take in tools, tear stuff houses apart, I work on car wrecks," she listed.
Women are often an asset to departments not only because of their petite size allowing them to maneuver through small spaces. "Volunteer departments have a very hard time recruiting volunteers," Cox said, "and we have daytime calls sometimes women are the ones that stay at home and are the ones that are available during the day."
That's exactly how Emma Thomas got her start three years ago. Having spare time during the day, she wanted to give back to her community.
"I am right there," Thomas said, "if they tell me grab that hose and go the the back side of the house I am right behind that hose, whatever they need me to do. I am not afraid."
Being a female firefighter has come with it's challenges over the years.
"I've been told that I deserve to be barefoot and pregnant and to leave the fire station," said Cox. "I've been told that I have no place on a fire scene and I don't know what it's talking about," she continued.
For these two women, being a volunteer firefighter is more than just a job; it's a lifestyle they've chosen.
35,000-40,000 women are serving in volunteer fire departments across the country.