Full-time firefighter/paramedic Wendy Ashworth made history last week in the Acushnet Fire and EMS Department when she became the first female member of the department to command an incident.
Ashworth, 56, is the only full-time female firefighter in the department, according to Chief Kevin Gallagher. As of Aug. 1, there were 48 employees, 11 of them women including Ashworth. They are on-call firefighters and part-time paramedics and EMTs.
Recent changes that took effect July 1, such as the fire and EMS departments officially merging to combine unions, contracts, and budgets, helped make way for this bit of history, Gallagher said. Ashworth, along with a few others, went from being a full-time paramedic to a full-time firefighter/paramedic and got specialized training to be incorporated into the command system and work firefighter shifts.