One local woman is heading back to work, and starting her fifth week on the job as Albuquerque Fire Department’s first female deputy chief.
Deputy Chief Emily Jaramillo is doing tasks that only men have done before in the department’s 118-year history, and inspiring future generations of female cadets along the way.
Jaramillo recalls the day she graduated from the 71st Cadet Class.
“I would argue the best cadet class.”
Jaramillo says she never imagined she would become one of the department’s second in line when she joined 13 years ago.
“It was unexpected for me,” said Jaramillo.
She worked her way through the department by starting out in the field, becoming a paramedic, working as a driver and then becoming a lieutenant in 2012.
“During that time is when I became pregnant with my first child. I didn’t want to put my baby at risk so I came to the fire academy and helped teach up here,” said Jaramillo.
Then she had her little boy and worked in professional development until she was promoted to captain last year.
However, with a change in the city’s administration, came her greatest opportunity yet.
“She’s exceeded expectations. She’s an outstanding employee. She’s motivated. She’s very passionate about the fire service. She was an easy choice to make my executive team much stronger,” said Chief Paul Dow.
Jaramillo admits she had to weigh the pros and cons before accepting the job. She worried she would miss station life and responding to calls.
“It was also a unique opportunity for me to be able to serve the department in a different role which was hard to pass up,” said Jaramillo.
The mother of two now holds the title of the first female Deputy Chief in the department’s 118-year history.
She even outranks her husband, who works for Bernalillo County Fire Department.
“The guys he works with give him a hard time like your wife outranks you at work and at home. He’s been very supportive and understanding and he told me once I would never want to hold you back from any kind of careers goals you have,” said Jaramillo.
Lately, Jaramillo spends her days in meetings, overseeing projects, visiting stations, and working with cadets.
She is also inspiring future female firefighters.
“If you work hard, it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, if you’re younger or older. You can have opportunities if you just work hard,” said Jaramillo.
The position Jaramillo filled is new. She now oversees EMS operations, emergency management, and a new community EMS program that is expected to be rolled out in the near future.
Jaramillo adds that she hopes that her new position will help women see that they can join our department and have the same opportunities as the men.