Lakeland Fire Department trying to recruit women; less than 5% of force is female

LAKELAND, Fla. — Lakeland Fire is recruiting women.

Lakeland Fire Chief Doug Riley came up with the idea for a video profiling women, hoping to get more applications for females.

Right now the department has just seven women, out of 170 or more firefighters.

The national rate isn’t much better, just four percent of firefighters in the U.S. are women.

The video, released just two weeks ago has gone viral with department across the country, all hoping to recruit more females. 

ABC Action News spoke with a female firefighter who has been with the Lakeland Fire department for four years.

“When they think about this job they think of it as 'I don’t know if I could do it because those guys, man they are heroes' and they may not see themselves as hero potential, but really we are just everyday people just trying to make a difference in the community,” Candice McLendon said.

The starting pay for an entry-level firefighter in Lakeland is about $42,000 per year.

Chief Riley says most personnel love the schedule; working 24 hours on and then getting the next two days off.

The return on investment is also good.

According to Riley, training takes about a year and is about $5,000. 

To apply click here.

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