Neb. fire dept.’s first, only female chief retires

FireRescue1 Staff

BEATRICE, Neb. — After working as a firefighter for 18 years and as the department’s only female chief, Julie Fisher is retiring.

“One of the challenges, of course, is fitting in. I was conscientious of my surrounding and where I was in the work-world of men,” Fisher told the Journal Star. “It was important for me to be able to do the same things they can do, and I did. I made it a point to be able to.”

She worked for the department since 1998, after initially joining as a reserve firefighter. Her interest in the service was piqued when she went for a ride-along with the department for a research paper in college. When a permanent position opened up, she took the spot.

Aware of the lack of female firefighters in the department, Fisher said, “There was a little bit of pressure because I really wanted to make sure that I did it with pride and could hold my own. I was there to do a job and to make other women know that they can do this, too. I always tried to remain humble and carry my weight.”

Fisher said the male-dominated department was respectful and welcomed her into the service. She noted that when a medical call for a woman having a stroke turned out to be her grandmother, her colleagues “swooped down and said, ’You’re not taking care of her.’ They took care of me, and they took care of my grandmother.”

The chief also met her husband at the department, Craig Fisher, and have been married for two years. Although spouses cannot work on the same shift, Craig said that it wasn’t an issue.

“When you think of it, you go to work then you get a me day and then you get a tougher day,” Craig said.

Now that she’s retired, Fisher said she’ll be focusing on her side business, a mobile hot dog stand.

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