Two Female First Responders Make History in Philly

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Two Philadelphia first responders made history Monday afternoon. A promotional swearing-in was held for Captain Linda Long who will become the city’s first female Fire Battalion Chief and Paramedic Captain Crystal Yates who will become the city’s first African-American female Paramedic Services Chief.

The promotional swearing-in ceremony took place from noon to 12:30 p.m. at the Philadelphia Fire Academy on 5200 Pennypack Street.

Long joined the Philadelphia Fire Department as a paramedic in 1990. She was the first person –male or female – to rise through the ranks as both a paramedic and a firefighter. In 2003, when she was a 39-year-old Paramedic Captain, Long decided to become a firefighter cadet. She is now being promoted to Fire Battalion Chief 14 years later.

Yates joined the Philadelphia Fire Department in 1998 and worked as a paramedic in North Philadelphia, Logan and Mantua. In 2004 she was promoted to Paramedic Lieutenant and in 2013 she and Fire Lieutenant Lisa Forrest became the first African-American women to be promoted to captain. Yates will now become the first African-American female Paramedic Services Chief.

“Long and Yates are building on the legacy of other women in the Fire Department,” a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Fire Department wrote. “Deputy Chief for EMS Diane Schweizer is currently the highest-ranking woman in the Department. Lt. Diane Mercer, the longest-serving woman in the Department, was one of the first three women to join in 1985.”

Long, Yates and 22 other candidates were sworn in Monday. A formal promotional ceremony will take place for them in June.

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