FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — Public safety has long been a field dominated by men. The number of women has increased to nearly 15% in military and police, but it lags behind in fire departments, where women only make up about 4% of firefighters.
In Fishers, Nikki Moss is one of six women who have earned the title of firefighter. She said the job is in her blood.
“My great-grandfather, grandfather and uncle were all on Indianapolis Fire Department with my grandfather and uncle both retiring as captains, so I am fourth generation,” Moss said.
It’s not lost on this paramedic and firefighter that those preceding her were all men, but she said that didn’t matter when choosing her career.
“I’ve always been that independent, strong-willed… I want to be in the middle of the action. I don’t want to sit back, so I definitely wanted to follow that route and be part of that tradition,” Moss said.
And 22 years into the industry, Moss said it isn’t easy.
“It definitely is a challenge. Just the nature of the job in general is hard. It’s hard work for everyone, but we come in and we do the exact same job as the men. We have to pass the same test as the men. There is no difference,” Moss said.
But Moss said there may be a difference in what women can offer when responding to emergencies.
“Being a mother myself, when I run on pediatric patients, I get that mother bear mode. Not only am I treating them, but it’s also that comforting mode,” Moss said.
Moss encourages women and girls to consider careers in public safety.
“Do it. Understand that you’re going to have to work hard, you’re going ot have to be physically and mentally fit for it, but do it. It’s a very rewarding career,” Moss said.
And it seems the tradition will continue. Moss now has a son who is a senior in high school, and she says he also plans to join the family business.