NEW YORK -- The dedication of the FDNY's emergency medical services is something that Tonya Boyd knows all about. In 21 years, she's worked her way up through the ranks: EMT, paramedic, lieutenant, captain, and now deputy chief.
"When I started in this position, I didn't see any African-American women in my title at all," Boyd said. "I am the first in 150 years of the fire department system, so I'm very proud and thrilled to be here. I've always felt like a role model. I feel like that's a part of my duty. The dedication is there 24 hours, and they really, really work hard. For EMTs and paramedics, there is a sense of gratification knowing that they've saved a life or that they've played an important role in saving someone's life. They just really care. They're there to help."
Slowly but surely, inroads are being made. For the first time, women outnumbered men in the elite rescue paramedic class at Randall's Island this fall. These are members of the FDNY who will often be called on to rescue fellow firefighters.