Meet Brittney Baker: Breaking Barriers as St. Paul’s First Black Female Fire Captain

Captain Brittney Baker is the only Black woman among 97 captains in the St. Paul Fire Department, making history. Baker was promoted to this position last month, and she has made it her goal to ensure that she is not the last.

As a result, she spends more time in the neighborhood than at the St. Paul Fire Department headquarters, demonstrating what a firefighter looks like.

She told Fox9 that she enjoys being able to positively impact children’s lives, which is why she does what she does. And then EMS runs: I enjoy taking care of patients.”

After her sister died from cancer, the trailblazer imagined herself working as a pediatric oncologist. After completing the EMS training, she realized it was her genuine calling.

“I began my experience in 2012 with the EMS academy, which is what I now teach for the department. “I’ve been teaching for 11 years,” Baker told Kare11.

In 2018, she became the second Black woman to work as a firefighter in St. Paul, where she was born and raised. Despite the presence of four Black female firefighters, she found the training tough and relied on mentors for support.

“How to wear my hair, and how to ensure that I can put my bunker gear on differently because my body structure differs. How to ensure that the ways in which I would ordinarily react or respond to something are not seen as ‘the angry black girl’, despite the fact that it is simply my passion and the way I speak,” she explained.

Baker has chosen not to take use of being first for the greater benefit. She stated, “People tell me that I wanted to do this, I wanted to be a fireman, I wanted to be a paramedic, and I didn’t know I could do it. I didn’t believe I could do it until I saw you walk across the stage at your fire graduation, or when you got out of the ambulance and came to rescue my family.”

“Just remembering that I’m not doing it for me, I’m doing it for everybody else that doesn’t think that they can do it,” he said.

Since other races have yet to make advances in the department, the pacesetter thinks hers will not be the last. She currently serves as a mentor at St. Paul Public Schools and is the principal instructor at the EMS Academy, where she previously graduated.

Steve Sampson, assistant chief of emergency medical services of the St. Paul Fire Department, said of her, “Everything she does is genuine and solely in the name of service.” She’s a fantastic role model not only for people in the community, but also for our other department members and myself.”

Baker told anyone wishing to follow in her footsteps, “Being the first is not easy. Being last isn’t always simple. Being second isn’t always easy. But it is something you want to do. Don’t think about being first, second, or third; instead, do anything you want.”



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