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More female firefighters: Don't force it, Mayor Garcetti

To the editor: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wants more of the city's firefighters to be women, a difficult goal made clear by the fact that the four women in this year's training class have been eliminated. ("Second straight LAFD recruit class is all male after women exit," April 29)

If a female trainee can't meet the physical requirements, which exist for safety reasons, too bad. In fact, The Times might want to look at the rate at which women leave the active roster of the Los Angeles Fire Department for early disability or are given cushy desk jobs.

Firefighters need to be in the field for 20 or 30 years to be cost effective. Slanting the playing field doesn't create equality, but it is unfair to those who easily meet the physical requirements.

I would love to be a supermodel, but alas, I don't meet the physical standard. Oh well. If a female can meet the LAFD standard, excellent. If not, too bad, but it isn't discrimination.

Trudi Reynolds, Malibu


To the editor: The latest story of female firefighters failing to complete training, along with the ongoing lack of female firefighters in general, calls to mind that definition of insanity: repeating something and expecting a different result.

Question: If men disappeared, would fires just burn out of control until nothing was left? What would it take to enable smaller people, men included, to become successful firefighters?

I submit that changes to protective gear, trucks, hoses and equipment would not only expand the pool of qualified applicants, but they might also reduce the appalling injury rate of firefighters and the vastly expensive disability claims footed by the taxpayers, and enable firefighters to have longer careers before retiring.

Edwin Parker, Long Beach

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