Like a lot of other businesses and organizations, the Superior Fire Department has found it difficult to recruit applicants for the variety of open positions it has. This has been especially true over the last few years.

In addition, the department has also been charged with increasing the number of female firefighters in its ranks.

With a new policy change, the Superior Fire Department hopes to improve both of those problems, with a solution that works for everyone.

One issue that has been a potential conflict in the past has to do with pregnancy.  According to the details shared in an article in the Superior Telegram [paywall], pregnancy has prevented "past candidates...[from being] able to complete the Candidate Physical Ability Test [that was] required prior to the second interview".

To fix that potential stumbling block to hiring more female firefighters, the Superior Police and Fire Commision voted to allow an "exception to the city's hiring policy", allowing the to "hire a pregnant woman who qualified for the Certified Hiring List".

Moving forward, those candidates - specifically pregnant women - would be allowed a longer period of time to obtain and pass the physical:

"Superior commissioners agreed it was reasonable to give women who qualify up to a year from their time of hire to pass the test."

Right now, the Superior Fire Department actually scored better than the national average for female firefighters on the department roster. However, "one retirement would put the department below average". According to the National Fire Protection Association, "[f]ewer than five percent of all career firefighters in 2020 were women".

The Superior Police and Fire Commission also hopes to have a larger conversation about the way the medical physical exception could help targeting and attracting other candidates (female or otherwise) to open positions. In the future, the same exception being made for a pregnant woman in regards to having a full year to obtain and pass the required physical could also be extended for other medical conditions that "could impede an individuals ability to take and pass the physical ability test".

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