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Female firefighter feels at home with SFRD

By Staff | Jun 15, 2011

Brittany Gydosh, who recently joined the Sanibel Fire Rescue District, is just the second female firefighter in the history of the department.

For almost as long as she can remember, Brittany Gydosh has held a lot of respect for the duties performed by firefighters and emergency rescue personnel. That respect was born from her own personal experience, which eventually impacted her career path.

Today, Brittany Gydosh is a firefighter herself.

“I was in a bad car accident when I was 5 years old,” recalled Gydosh, who was born and raised in Cape Coral. “All of the firemen and medics were very helpful to me. If I can remember that making an outstanding impression on me at 5, than it must’ve been something I was meant to do.”

Gydosh, who previously had worked as a graphic designer and fitness instructor, recently joined the Sanibel Fire Rescue District as a firefighter, only the second female in the history of the department. The previous crew member, Mary Jane McAward, left the SFRD in 2003 after 10 years on the island.

“I didn’t realize how many women were becoming firefighters,” said Gydosh, who in 2009 enrolled at Edison State College, majoring in Emergency Medicine. After graduating from the Fort Myers Fire Academy in January of this year, she was hired by the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Fire Department.

A native of Cape Coral, Brittany Gydosh hopes one day to become an engineer and drive the SFRD ladder truck.

But as much as she enjoyed the work there, Gydosh longed to be closer to her home in Southwest Florida. So it was a bit serendipitous when she received a phone call offering her a position on Sanibel.

“(Assistant Fire Chief) Matt Scott called me in mid-April,” she explained, noting that Scott had been one of her instructors at the Fire Academy. “He told me they had a position open here and I immediately said yes.”

According to Scott, Gydosh made a very positive impression on the SFRD interview board.

“She had a terrific knowledge of Sanibel Fire and was interested in learning about our history and also wanted to get involved with training,” said Scott. “There were a lot of other candidates we were looking at, but Brittany is a hard worker, very intense and wanted to learn.”

Since joining the district, Gydosh reports nothing but positives.

“I couldn’t believe how nice they are to me. Everybody sits down together to have dinner… it’s like having a second family,” she said.

Gydosh is also preparing for another major milestone in her life when she gets married in September.

“2011 is a big year for me,” she added with a smile.

Meanwhile, Gydosh hopes to become a longtime fixture at the SFRD, aspiring to become an engineer who drives one of the department’s ladder trucks, and eventually be named an officer.

Asked what her parents thought about her decision to become a firefighter, Gydosh noted, “They were a little shocked at first, but they’re happy because they know it suits my personality quite well.”