San Francisco's 30 years of women in the fire service: The stories, struggles and triumphs

There were a total of seven women in the SFFD in 1987; now, there are 285 uniformed women in the department

In 1987, there were a total of seven women divided among two San Francisco Fire Department academy classes. One of the seven was Shelia Hunter — the only African-American in the class.

Thirty years later, Hunter, who served two years as a captain of backgrounds and investigations, is now surrounded by 285 uniformed women in the department.

After her recent return to the field as a lieutenant at Station 33, Hunter said she stays inspired by working within the community and helping people.

"Seeing the faces of children and adults when they see not only a female firefighter, but an African-American female firefighter … when they give the thumbs up, it makes me feel really good," she said.

To Read The Full Story

Member Exclusive Content

Get free access to this and other Fire Chief exclusives - sign up or log in today!
You'll have access to exclusive member benefits, such as:

  • Exclusive incident analysis, videos, tips and training from Fire Chief
  • Latest product research, including our How to Buy Guides
  • Get our curated newsletters delivered straight to your inbox

Copyright © 2023 Fire Chief. All rights reserved.