Joann Diaz was only one of 27 Hispanic women who were on the job for the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) when she joined in 2013. In her Bronx firehouse, she was the only one. Today Diaz is the first-ever Latina fire lieutenant in FDNY’s 156-year history.
Diaz officially received the promotion last week along with 112 others. Diaz, who split her youth in the Bronx and Puerto Rico, credits the Broadway musical Annie Get Your Gun with inspiring her at an early age. “And that always stayed with me. I grew up admiring women who defied the odds, and I felt I was destined to do the same,” she said in a statement to JoinFDNY.com.
“I became interested in joining the FDNY when I noticed there was little to no female representation. I joined the FDNY because I wanted to demonstrate to my peers that women can serve here and I wanted to inspire other women to join the FDNY,” said the newly minted Lieutenant Joann Diaz.
The mother of three is among the 13.4% of Hispanics who currently work for the FDNY on the firefighting operation side of things. On its Emergency Medical Service (EMS) side, the number is 25% of the workforce.
Diaz has been assigned to Engine 79 for her entire firefighting career. Though she does not know yet where her assignment will be, she is “humbled to have been promoted and I am committed, without reservation, to work tirelessly to continue the FDNY tradition of service, leadership, and sacrifice.”