Those who know me understand that I love my firefighters, no matter where you're from, what colour you are, what sex...I love them just because they signed up to do the job that they do.
I would like to think - but really don't know - how I would handle the job - cutting people out of mangled cars, lifting 400-pound medical patients, carting incredibly heavy hoses into a building that's on fire and might just kill me...
The one thing I DO know is this : firefighting has evolved over DECADES, on the backs of MANY deaths (both civilian and firefighter). They've gotten to where they are - the best in the game, bar none - because they listen to tradition. It's not about the tradition of white men with awesome moustaches making great chili and telling war stories, but rather the tradition of learning from the deaths of past firefighters - and citizens like you and I.
Fire services evolve on their own, not due to influxes of new blood from elsewhere in the world - our fire teams in North America are the BEST in the world because of what we know, because of the procedures we follow, and you don't want to mess with that.
Look, guys. If you want to actually accomplish something, look at letting Fire take over EMS (I get flack on that one, too, but it's going to happen when we get smart councillors...well, I can dream, can't I). Response times are important, not the colour of the arriving personnel.
Stop noticing what colour the firefighters are. If that's what you're noticing, then maybe you need to spend a week on the job with them. Try lifting the roof off a car. Try hauling one reel of hose on each arm up six stories. Try hanging out in bunker gear for four hours straight. Try a job that will kill you, just due to stress, never mind all the junk you inhale...and then tell firefighters that the colour of their skin matters.
By doing so, you're creating racism, not solving it. Trust me - firefighters will take any colour, any sex - as long as they can do the job. They don't need your help.