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Celebrating its 150th year, FASNY acknowledges diversity by amending its name

Jan 14, 2022 5:45 am

Noah Eckstein is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media in celebration of its 150th anniversary this year, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, or FASNY, will replace the word “Firemen” with "Firefighter" in its title. The change is being made as a gesture of inclusion, a way to recognize the diversity of everyone working in the industry. “We felt it was certainly the time to move forward,” FASNY President John Farrell said. In the last decade, the organization voted twice to update its name, but the measure never passed. “We did not make this change lightly,” said FASNY First Vice President Edward Tasse. “We know and respect the great history of our association. We also know that our name must represent today’s volunteer fire service.” The change was finally approved by the FASNY board in December. Laurie M. Hance, one of two women on the board, initially voted against the name change. Hance said she never had a problem with the original name and felt a sense of historical reverence toward the title of fireman since her father was a chief of the Hannawa Falls Fire Department in St. Lawrence County. Women have served as firefighters since about 1815, when a black woman named Molly Williams started working with Oceanus Engine Company No. 11 in lower Manhattan. Generally, the role of firefighter was seen as being too dangerous for women. “Until five years ago, FASNY felt like a boys club,” said Hance, who added it took about two years for the men she worked with to fully accept her. “Some of the older members took longer, but FASNY can’t be labeled a boys club anymore,” she said. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.