@WORK: JoAnne E. Rice
Published: Sunday, July 8, 2012 at 11:04 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, July 8, 2012 at 11:04 p.m.
In June, you became the first female assistant chief in the history of the department. Talk about that accomplishment: I can honestly say I feel very humble, proud, and grateful. The gender distribution in our department has not changed much from when I was hired and remains around 10 percent. I am proud to be a member of a department and city where diversity is considered an important element. Diversity is not a new concept in our department; the groundwork was done long before me, and there were several women firefighters who forged a path for me and the many other women who are currently following that path. I am grateful to those women and the men who have been my role models and mentors, who have offered me guidance and inspiration over my 22 years (as a firefighter).
JoAnne E. Rice
Gainesville Fire Rescue
Hired in Oct of 1990
Promoted to Driver Operator in 1996
Promoted to Lieutenant and District Chief in 2002
These days, fire departments do much more than fight fires. Describe how the job has changed: In the past 10 years, we have had a monumental turnover in personnel, and now have a very young and energized cadre of firefighters and officers. Our department was one of the first to recognize and embrace the importance of firefighter fitness and we remain ahead of the curve in too many ways to list, as it is our culture to embrace change and innovation rather than to comply with regulations to accept changes. Just to mention a few things that have changed: Improvements in equipment such as lighter, more protective bunker gear and air packs; better safety standards; increased education and training requirements; increased technology; specialty teams such as disaster, rescue, Hazmat and SWAT; and many more..
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