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UWF Training Testimonials

Being physically mentored by the women firefighters gave me the confidence to know that I could one day be like them, accomplish what they have accomplished. Having female firefighters at the trainings motivating me made my dream of becoming a firefighter seem attainable.

FF Giselle King

Firefighter since 2014, 2012-14 UWF and NYSC Program Participant

The UWF organization was the only organization that properly prepared me for the FDNY academy. I trained with various groups and training programs and none told me, as a women, what I would need to improve on, except for the women firefighters. The FDNY women are great mentors who always pushed candidates to do better.

FF Antoinette Proctor

Firefighter since 2014, 2012-14 UWF Training Program Participant

I’m a candidate on both the current list as well as the previously thrown out list (6019). As such I have trained with both the UWF members as well as John Jay. While John Jay has in the past done an excellent job preparing us for the CPAT exam, the experience, knowledge, and mentorship of the UWF is critical and irreplaceable to us as candidates. Our training emphasis has shifted from simply passing CPAT towards being successful getting through the rigorous academy, something that the UWF members are much more equipped to understand.



Ryan Cassandra Colletti

Current NYSC/UWF Training Program

For the past few months, I have had the opportunity to prepare for the physical and mental rigors of the FDNY and several of the United Women Firefighter (UWF) members. Training with experts and the UWF is critical, as they have the background to train us to become stronger and teach us the techniques for becoming a firefighter. It is their real-life expertise and dedication that have made the training the success it is now.

Jomarie Cruz

Current NYSC/UWF Training Program Participant

I am a prior and current FDNY candidate who, in 2008, was privileged to be trained at John Jay College using with their top-notch facilities. I can say with confidence that in 2008 the staff (which included women Firefighters and John Jay employees) was second-to-none because there was a common goal between all parties of using all means/knowledge/experience necessary for getting female candidates on the job. Now at the training at the NYSC, I am often able to turn to a female firefighter and ask her a job related question during training. 

Lisa Snyder

Current NYSC/UWF Training Program Participant

Training with the women firefighters and...NYSC, has provided myself as well as others the tools, technique, strength, and cardio needed for the job of being a firefighter. We are fortunate that these people care for our future. They provide us an opportunity to prepare ourselves in ways otherwise oblivious to us.

FF Hildany Santana

Firefighter since 2015, 2014-2015 NYSC/UWF Training Program Participant

This training is very intense and helpful for us. It prepares us physically for the medical process and the academy. This training keeps us focused and challenges us to push ourselves to workout harder.

FF Annette Astaiza

Firefighter since 2014, 2012-2014 NYSC/UWF Training Program Participant

I was one of the first EMS women to get promoted to firefighter and the only woman on my list of promotional hires to score a perfect 100 on the physical test. I owe that to the dedication of the UWF and all the women firefighters who trained me at the John Jay training facility. I came to training thinking that only big burly men could do the job. I was wrong. Meeting actual female firefighters made me realize that women can do this job. I met women who were all different: tall, short, muscular, lean. Most impressively, they were all FDNY firefighters. The women firefighters made me realize that I, as a woman, could do the job and that I wanted to do the job. Thanks to these women, their dedication and the training facility John Jay provided, I went on to be the one of the first EMS females promoted to FDNY firefighter.

Retired Fire Marshal Aisha Ricca

Active 2000-2010, Participant in John Jay Training in 1999

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I was in the first class of women to become NYC Firefighters in 1982. Throughout my career I was privileged to work with John Jay College on three successive physical training programs geared towards helping young women candidates prepare for the FDNY physical agilities exam. I personally witnessed the added benefits of young women working with other like-minded women and most importantly, women firefighters, and those benefits can not be understated. The level of support, camaraderie and effort increased tenfold. Is mine a scientific, quantifiable statement? No. But the job of firefighting relies on much more than quantifiable elements. It also relies on “heart.” And the commitment, caring, cheering and just plain hard work, I saw numerous young women put forth in their efforts to become New York’s Bravest over the years, speaks towards encouraging them to work together as women. A training program in partnership with women firefighters, geared towards THESE young women would go a long, long way towards ensuring them the best chance to reach their goal.

Retired Fire Marshal Joann Jacobs

Active 1982-2000, Trainer in John Jay Training Programs 1988-1999

I trained with the NYSC training in 2003 with the female firefighters from the UWF. It was absolutely vital, essential and instrumental in me becoming a firefighter. The ability to train under the guidance of women firefighters taught me how to use different body mechanics that were advantageous to women's bodies. The women firefighters were teaching us age old techniques that they have learned from the field and from their personal experience. I scored 100% on the physical exam. The training made me aware of how competitive the physical was and how aggressively I needed to train to become successful. 

FF Jackie Martinez

Firefighter since 2006, 2003 NYSC and UWF Training Program

Training at the FDNY’s CPAT prep course prior to starting the academy was tough because it was co-ed and not motivating. But training with women who currently have the job which you are training for is really motivating. It gave me a real person to model myself after, plus the women were able to answer questions and give us tips that are helpful and that only other women on the job would know.

FF Sophy Medina

Firefighter since 2008, 2007 John Jay Program Participant

The physical part of the training was undeniably important, but I think there was another value to it, namely the experience of training with a group of other women. It prepared me for the academy and life in the firehouse in a way I don't think I could have found otherwise.

FF Martha Brekke

Firefighter since 2008, 2003 NYSC and UWF Training Program

The UWF training held at John Jay in 2007-2008 helped prepare me for the academy. The facility and equipment, along with the trainers and women Firefighters, gave me the best chance to succeed. John Jay was a great location because it was easily accessible, it had weight vests, mannequins, a running track, many floors of stairs, step mills and other gym equipment, and it was only a couple blocks from Central Park. I come from a military background so the paramilitary style of the Fire Academy was not unfamiliar to me, but being able to draw from the knowledge and experience of the female Firefighters I came to know through the training program was invaluable. The UWF not only taught me how to specifically train for the academy but also prepared me for the field. While my field in the military is male dominated, it pales in comparison to firefighting; it was inspirational to be mentored by these women firefighters. The camaraderie and sisterhood that developed motivated me to push through any obstacle.

FF Joy Flores

Firefighter since 2008, 2007 John Jay Program Participant

As a trans female firefighter, having other women around who had experience in the firehouse was very important for me and ultimately made me comfortable enough to fight for this job. Without them, I wouldn't be a firefighter and the experience and advice that they gave led me to have a drive that would not have been attainable from someone lacking actual experience as a female firefighter.

FF Georgia Brooke Guinan

Firefighter since 2008

The trainings at the New York Sports Club were tougher than any workout I had ever put myself through. It was already a deterrent to know that so few women were firefighters and I was fearful I would not make the cut for the academy. It's only because of the mentorship of the women firefighters that I was able to overcome my insecurities. The UWF helped me gauge where I stood physically and motivated me to want the job they already had. I needed that support, and confidence that I, as a woman, was not alone in the goal to attaining a position as a NYC firefighter.

FF Daiana Mielnik

Firefighter since 2005

It was thanks to the invaluable training that I received from those female firefighter mentors that I have now been a firefighter for over 10 years. Any firefighter could have showed me the techniques needed, but it was being a part of a ladies only training group being taught with the heart and wisdom of seasoned females on the job that bridged the connection of my desire to want this career with the dedication to getting it.

FF Kinga Kusek

Firefighter since 2003, 1999 John Jay Training Program Participant, 2002 NYSC and UWF Training Program Participant

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