Sedgwick County female firefighter discusses experience as a minority on the job

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SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. Crystal Macedo is not your typical firefighter. But despite her petite figure, she does every task just like any other firefighter on the Sedgwick County Fire Department.

"I enjoy what I do and just working around the people I work with," Macedo says.

Macedo was a Sedgwick County paramedic for six years. Now, she's one of four female firefighters for the county, which includes nearly 150 firefighters total.

She's also one of nine Hispanic firefighters for the department.

Sedgwick County Fire Chief Tavis Leake wants to diversity the department.

"(Minority firefighters) bring a lot to the table because, as you know, our community is diverse," he says. "So, when we have diverse personnel, diverse firefighters out there that can assist us if there's a language barrier, we have diversity that can address those issues," he says.

Macedo says even though it is difficult to work with the fire gear and to carry heavy tools, it's a rewarding job.

"I have no first reponders in my family," she says.

But Macedo may not be the last in her family.

"My daughter now wants to be a firefighter like her mom, which is something you didn't used to see," she says.

Leake says there are some misconceptions about the hiring process for the county fire department that now only has five requirements.