This week, Tonya Boyd, a 21- year veteran with the FDNY (New York City Fire Department), made history, becoming the first Black woman to be named deputy chief.
“After hearing about the promotion, I couldn’t believe it. I feel like I’ve knocked down a door and opened it for a lot of EMTs just starting on this job,” said Boyd.
Boyd initially planned to become a nurse like her grandmother, but when needing money in nursing school and at the suggestion of her cousin, enrolled in Brooklyn College where she received her EMT license.
Because of the merger between the EMS and FDNY, there is not a clear path to deputy chief. An EMS promotion exam is only given for lieutenant, unlike with the firefighters who take civil service promotional exams for officer ranks and move up in rank according to a scored hiring list. Only those within the very top are appointed by FDNY leadership. Boyd’s position has been appointed.
“Tonya is not only helping to raise the bar for our ability to provide pre-hospital care, she’s also demonstrating to young women of all backgrounds the incredible rewarding career they can achieve in the FDNY,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.
For the first time in more than 150 years the FDNY will have an African-American woman as a deputy chief. Boyd will be the highest ranking Black woman within the entire department.