TOLEDO, Ohio — As we continue to celebrate Women's History Month, WTOL 11 is featuring a different female leader in the community each week.
This week, WTOL 11 sat down with Toledo Fire & Rescue Chief Allison Armstrong to talk about what women have inspired her and what it's like being a woman in a predominantly male field.
"My goal from being a young child was 'I wanted to be a Toledo firefighter,'" said Armstrong. "Not just a firefighter, I wanted to work for Toledo."
Allison Armstrong joined TFRD in 2000. She became chief in 2022. She says she didn't endure obstacles one might think being a woman in a field that is made up of predominantly men.
"I do feel, I will say this, that the women who came before me really paved the way for me to say that," explained Armstrong. "I didn't feel like I experienced any of those barriers that may have been there before."
TFRD currently has 560 sworn firefighters, 71 of those are women.
The department says the national average of female firefighters for fire departments from mid-size to large cities is 5 - 6%. TFRD is double that.
Chief Armstrong says her mother was one of her greatest inspirations.
"My mother was a very strong-willed person," said Armstrong. "She worked forever. I mean she always had a job, worked outside the home, but yet took care of my brother and I. Provided a solid foundation for us. Provided mentorship, showing us what we can accomplish."