Batesville hires first full-time female firefighter in 132-year history

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BATESVILLE, Ind. -- Batesville Fire and Rescue announced the hire of their first full-time female firefighter Tuesday.

Lisa Jennings was sworn in by Batesville Mayor Mike Bettice on Monday.

After several female part-timers and volunteers, Jennings is the department's first full-time firefighter/paramedic.

Jennings was a EMT/paramedic with Ripley County since 2013, and earned the State of Indiana Firefighter certification in 2018.

"I am really excited to have the opportunity to utilize the education I obtained in fire school, in addition to my paramedic background," Jennings said in a statement released by Batesville Fire and Rescue.

Jennings said she decided to go back to school when her kids got older after 17 years as a stay-at-home mom.

"I never liked being with my kids when they got hurt and not knowing what to do," she said.
After a few years as a paramedic, she decided to learn how to become a firefighter. Chief Todd Schutte does not see a difference. He just sees Jennings as family.

"It is a brotherhood and sisterhood and that is what it really is," he said. "Lisa was the most qualified and so we hired her."

There are other women who work part time at the department. Jennings believes there are not many female firefighters because it is physically challenging.

"The fear factor is there. Like can I do this," she said. "I look back and think why did I wait this long."

Jennings wants to see more women apply.

The police department in Batesville only has one female officer. She said she is excited to have another full-time female first responder in the county.

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