NEW YORK CITY - More minorities and women are looking to join New York's bravest and are scoring higher on the written firefighter's test.

City officials say a recruitment drive to increase the number of minorities in a predominantly white department has worked. Of the 21,000 recent passing applicants, 38 percent are minorities. That number is up from 21 percent the last time the test was administered in 2002.

"We are finally making big strides toward increasing diversity," says Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Fire officials are also calling the increase an unprecedented result.

The Vulcan Society, a group representing black firefighters, says the results are a step in the right direction, but not necessarily a victory. According to the group, which is currently suing the city for racial discrimination, minority retirement still outnumbers minority hiring.

Vulcan Society representatives also point out that applicants are not guaranteed jobs solely by passing the test. Applicants must also pass a physical and psychological test before being hired and making it through the fire academy.

For Mayor Bloomberg's press conference on the FDNY exams, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

Related information: Firefighters to join discrimination suit against FDNY