Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - Rochester Firefighter Jean Mulholland retired after over 25 years of service this week.

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The fire department made the announcement on Wednesday. Mulholland joined RFD on August 5th, 1996 as the department's first female firefighter. She was a long-time member of the department’s Structural Collapse Team.

Since Mulholland was hired in 1996, five more women have joined RFD and there is a female candidate on the department’s current list of potential hires. One of the six women hired by RFD has been promoted to Motor Operator (driver) and another has been promoted to Assistant Chief.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, women make up less than 10% of fire departments nationwide. About 5% of RFD’s firefighting staffing is female.

In a news release, RFD said it continues to actively seek firefighters across all demographics.

“RFD runs an annual high school program to help make local students aware of the opportunities in firefighting. Male and female students from Rochester high schools and other local communities take part in online and hands-on training that allows them to achieve firefighter certification in Minnesota, which opens the door to joining departments after they graduate.”

Eighteen female students have taken part in the program since it started in the 2019-20 school year.

RFD was formed in 1866 and became a career department in 1915. All members prior to 1996 were men.

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