PRESS RELEASE: MD FireMEN to Vote on New Name: Debate is Unexpectedly Spirited.

Senator Cheryl C. Kagan
District 17 (Rockville & Gaithersburg)
PRESS RELEASE: MD FireMEN to Vote on New Name:
Debate is Unexpectedly Spirited.
(Rockville, MD) When it comes to fire-fighting organizations, forty-four state groups have legally changed their names to be gender inclusive. Maryland’s MSFA– the Maryland State FireMEN’s Association– has persisted in retaining its outdated name.
Beginning June 18th, the MSFA will host its annual conference at the Ocean City Convention Center. On their agenda will be a vote among the fire companies from around the state as to whether to officially make the change.
“Changing MSFA’s name from FireMEN to FireFIGHTER should be a no-brainer. Retaining the outdated, sexist, and inaccurate name is disrespectful to the courageous women who are protecting our communities around the state.” said Sen. Cheryl Kagan.
Maryland has a long history of gender equality in firefighting. From 1910-1920, Silver Spring was home to one of only two women’s volunteer fire companies in the entire country. Today, Chief Tiffany GreenChief Joanne Rund, and Chief Trisha Wolford are leaders and role models as the first women Fire Chiefs in Anne Arundel, Prince George’s, and Baltimore Counties, respectively.
Left to right: Chief Tiffany Green, Chief Joanne Rund, and Chief Trisha Wolford
Because of her leadership on 9-1-1, Sen. Cheryl Kagan has been recognized as Legislator of the Year by MSFA for the past two years. In her capacity as Chair of the Next Generation 9-1-1 Commission, she wrote to the MSFA, advocating for the easy name change. This year, the 82-member bipartisan and bicameral Women Legislators of Maryland joined the effort. Caucus President, Del. Lesley Lopez stated, “Firefighters of all genders are worthy of recognition and inclusion. An organizational name change is a symbolic but significant move that is long overdue.”
“Maryland has an exceptional history of women firefighters. It is mortifying that MSFA has waited so long to give women their long overdue and well-deserved recognition,” Kagan said. “Legislators from around the state will be watching to see whether Maryland will become the 45th state to honor our women firefighters at the MSFA Convention next week.”
According to former Delegate and firefighter of 47 years Jimmy Malone, “Now is the time for the name change. I am hopeful that it will happen at this year’s convention.”
Senator Kagan (D-District 17) represents Gaithersburg and Rockville. She is the Vice Chair of the Education, Health, & Environmental Affairs Committee. Kagan has earned a reputation as an independent-minded legislator with a strong voice for her constituents on election reform, Next Generation 9-1-1, consumer protection, and nonprofits. Kagan is active on social media and has a podcast, “Kibbitzing with Kagan” with new episodes each week.
By Authority: Citizens Helping Elect Cheryl Kagan (C.H.E.C.K.), Michael Frazier, Chair; Neil Burka, Treasurer.