- An FDNY training manual that’s been in circulation up until 2019 said women and people of color make team-building difficult.
- The New York Times reported that that portion of the training manual was written in 1997.
- “This does not reflect the F.D.N.Y. today,” a fire department spokesperson told the Times.
The New York Fire Department included a passage in its training manual that said women and people of color make team-building difficult, according to the New York Times.
Up until 2019, fire departments managers received this guidance in a training memo that had originally been written in 1997.
“Motivation in firefighting is largely a matter of team building,” one portion of the memo read, according to the Times. “Team building encounters special problems when the team has to readjust to new members, minorities or females, or members who are problems because they do not behave.”
The FDNY did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.
But in a statement to the New York Times, department spokesperson Frank Dwyer said the training materials were dated and were officially struck from the guide in 2019.
“This does not reflect the F.D.N.Y. today,” Dwyer told the Times.
Firefighting is a notoriously male-dominated work environment. As of 2019, women made up just 4% of all firefighters nationwide, according to research from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
The problem is widely known. Dozens of stories across prominent news outlets and human rights groups have run stories centering women blasting the firefighting culture. Data also show that women firefighters make on average about $12,000 less per year than male firefighters.
Firefighting is also an overwhelmingly white field. More than 80% of all firefighters in the country are white, according to research from 2018.
In Kansas City, firefighters have been segregated by race for years, including as recently as 2020, according to a year-long investigation conducted by the Kansas City Star. Firefighter demographics there do not match those of the city itself, the Star reported. Kansas City is 30% Black but only 14% of the fire department is Black.
That means white firefighters are the ones mostly responding to calls in areas with a majority Black neighborhood, characterized by the Star as one the “busiest” parts of the city for the Fire Department. These white firefighters in turn get more experience, which often translates to promotion and pay bump opportunities.