First woman to join FDNY speaks of experience

Posted: Updated:
BROOKLYN -

The first woman to join the FDNY in 1982 retells her experience. 

Brenda Berkman fought the city in a sex discrimination lawsuit in 1982 and won in order to fulfill her dreams of joining the FDNY.

"To do important things with your life, a lot of times you are going to encounter barriers and you have to work through those barriers. And it's not always going to be easy and people aren't always going to be happy to see you but you can achieve change," she says.

She recalls climbing the ranks and becoming a lieutenant in Brooklyn and eventually a captain before retiring in 2006.

"You do really get to help people when they don't know who else to call. They pick up the phone and they call the New York City fire department," she says.

And through all of it, Berkman hopes to see more women carry the torch and light the way for women fire fighters in the department. 

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