ORLANDO, Fla. - 9 investigates discovered that nine of the Orlando Fire Department's 17 fire stations do not have separate restrooms, changing areas or sleeping quarters for female firefighters.
Construction will begin this fall on a $21 million project to replace fire station No. 6 at Orlando Executive Airport, fire station No. 9 on Center Loop and fire station No. 11 on Curry Ford Road.
The stations, which are scheduled to open by summer 2020, will include separate restrooms, changing areas and sleeping quarters for female firefighters.
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"We have stations right now that do not have any female restrooms, so some of that will be addressed in the new station designs," said Ron Glass, president of the Orlando Professional Firefighters union.
He told 9 Investigates last week that updating stations is an important step in reforming a male-dominated workforce. Only 20 of the agency's 500 firefighters are female.
"The other stuff will be just the interaction -- (the) male and female interaction -- promotional opportunities for females ... and also the recruitment," Glass said.
The city said that in the past year it has made physical changes to each station to ensure women have a private, secure area, including a private space for nursing mothers.
Today at 5 @WFTV The first phase is underway of @citybeautiful @OrlandoFireDept plan to attract more women to its ranks and one day “set the standard” for female representation #WFTV pic.twitter.com/g0d3BO7WYa— Angela Jacobs WFTV (@AngelaJacobsTV) February 27, 2019
On @WFTV One of 3 @OrlandoFireDept stations to be replaced this fall by a new building equipped (restroom, changing, sleeping areas) to accommodate female firefighters.@citybeautiful working on long range plan 4 the more than half of its stations that lack those amenities #WFTV pic.twitter.com/aOWZUB3rnQ— Angela Jacobs WFTV (@AngelaJacobsTV) February 27, 2019
It said that private spaces are now secured with working locks and that newly constructed fire stations will include separate restrooms, changing areas and sleeping corridors for female firefighters.
The city said that a new task force, which is still being created, will formulate a plan for stations without accommodations for female firefighters.
Orange County Fire Rescue said that women make up 8 percent of its firefighters, a percentage that leads the nation.
It said that the county's 42 stations are each equipped with separate facilities for men and women.
The Orlando Fire Department has started a new push to attract female firefighters. We're digging more into what the city is doing to address this issue, TODAY at 5 on #wftv. @AngelaJacobsTV @GWarmothWFTV @MarthaSugalski pic.twitter.com/nS7jk0Z89I— WFTV Channel 9 (@WFTV) February 27, 2019
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