November 11 2013

The Fire-proof Firefighter

Charlotte Hays

Don’t necessarily count on Wendy Tapia’s having the strength to carry you out of a burning building.

Despite having failed FDNY’s running test five times, Ms. Tapia graduated from the FDNY’s academy and was assigned to a firehouse.

The New York Post reports:

Normally, probationary firefighters who fail the running test at the end of academy training don’t graduate — period. They flunk out but can join the next academy class, start over and get another chance to pass the course.

Tapia’s treatment has inflamed male and female colleagues alike.

“I don’t know how she got to graduate. It never should have happened,” a female firefighter told The Post. “You should not graduate if you can’t meet all the requirements — male, female, black or white.”

After graduation, instead of joining fellow firefighters in the field, Tapia went on medical leave from May 20 to June 10 to recover from her foot injury. She then went on light duty until July 2, reporting to FDNY headquarters in Downtown Brooklyn.

She “reports to work . . . wearing our uniform? F-?-KING JOKE!” one firefighter fumed on an online rant site.

Tapia returned to full duty — but was sent back to Randall’s ­Island for extra help.

“They put so many resources into training just her,” an insider said. “Every time she fails, she has a different excuse.”

The story doesn’t quite say it, but it is apparent that Tapia’s sex plays into this. Like most institutions, FDNY is, I am willing to bet, under pressure to be more “diverse.” This is fine, as long as only people qualified to do the job are hired—it is also important that more qualified people don’t see slots going to less qualified people because of minority status.

This is disturbing because of the potential real-world consequences. The military is in the same bind as FDNY. General Martin Dempsey has indicated that, if women can’t meet the physical standards usually required for combat, the standards could be changed.

Here's the problem: Our enemies may not be politically correct.

Neither are raging fires that require physical strength to save lives.

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