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Study: Black & female FDNY firefighters experience more "incivility and harassment"

Study: Black & female FDNY firefighters experience more harassment
Study: Black & female FDNY firefighters experience more harassment 02:24

NEW YORK -- A survey administered by the FDNY to firefighters finds that Black and female members experience harassment and uncivil treatment at three times the rate of others in the department.

The survey was first administered in 2019. It asked, among other things, about FDNY workplace culture, equality, civility, discrimination and harassment. More than 4,000 members responded.

The survey wanted to learn more about the work experiences of firefighters.

It found that Black and female firefighters faced "incivility and harassment" at three times the rate of other firefighters.

The survey found people who are victims "seldom report their experiences" and the majority of those who said they do "indicated they faced repercussions for doing so."

Other findings showed inaccurate information about testing and performance standards contributed to the negative experiences of Black and female firefighters. They want testing standards to be more transparent.

"For me, it's just unfortunate that it took this survey to move when we've been having these outcries from our members for years," said Regina Wilson, the president of the Vulcan Society, the fraternal organization of Black firefighters. "It's time for us to end these racist policies, these racist practices in this department ... and for the public to truly understand that bringing more Black people and women on this job does not mean that we are lowering standards."

In a statement, Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said the survey "has given us the tools to work across all ranks... to create solutions that make our members safer, happier and healthier."

Chief of Department John Hodges wrote, "The issues raised in this survey are difficult, but we are prepared to meet this challenge as we always do."

The FDNY says it is developing an action plan to change the culture.

"They have to teach leaders how to be leaders and how to deal with diverse mindsets, colors, genders and be able to really have a true welcoming atmosphere," Wilson said.

The department says that after the action plan is formulated, they will share it with the members, and then they will welcome their input.

The FDNY says the plan will involved leadership training, education and transparency.

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