You were the first Asian American woman firefighter in New York City. What was that like?
It was hard! I had to really prove myself. Everyone was waiting to see how I would do.
You help other women become firefighters. Why is that important?
Only about 1 percent of people in the FDNY are women, and it’s hard when there aren’t other women around. You might get left out of things or not be taken seriously by your male co-workers. I want to help other women succeed—the FDNY needs them.
Why does the FDNY need women?
I want the FDNY to look as diverse as New York City does. There should be men, women, and people from different races and cultures. It’s important because we respond to all kinds of situations, not just fires. We get called to help when someone is hurt. If that person sees a firefighter who looks like them, they might feel more comfortable.
How does someone become a firefighter in New York City?
There are a lot of tests: a written test, a physical test, a medical test. And then you have to go to the fire academy. All in all, it takes about two to four years to become a firefighter.
What’s the best part of your job?
I love that every day is different. I could never work in an office, doing the same thing every day. I love the excitement of getting a call and going to help people. And it’s fun to drive the fire engine and have everyone get out of your way!