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Lighting the Way: Women are Changing the Face of Public Safety

Communication Systems
Mar 25, 2024 | 2 MINUTE Read

Despite making up less than 10% of the firefighting workforce, women have proven their tenacity time and time again in this challenging profession, and we recognize and support their efforts. Today, in the spirit of recognizing pioneering women, we bring you an inspiring story from our own network.

Abbey Johnston, Deputy Chief of Operations

Meet a remarkable firefighter who carved her path in fire and EMS service, Abbey Johnston, Deputy Chief of Operations in Bedford County, Virginia.

Raised in a family committed to service, she took up the mantle in 2002 as a volunteer firefighter. Her decision to join the fire service was sparked by the heroic acts during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 – a tribute to those who put their lives on the line for the safety of others.

Women's History Month Spotlight

Images courtesy of Abbey Johnston.

Her journey didn't stop there. She became a career firefighter and EMT in the City of Lynchburg, Virginia, showcasing her dedication to the role and earning her Paramedic certification. With unwavering commitment and technical expertise, she rose through the ranks to Master Firefighter and then Captain.

In 2019, she accepted the role of Deputy Chief of Operations for Bedford County Fire & Rescue. Today, she holds esteemed positions as the Vice Chair of the Virginia Fire Services Board and recently joined the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association Board of Directors.

Her Fire and EMS expertise transcends technical knowledge. Armed with a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration and a Master of Arts in Executive Leadership, she leads with experience gained on emergency scenes, theory learned in the classroom and wisdom shared by those who have poured into her career.

As a woman in a male-dominated field, her journey hasn’t always been easy. She faced doubt and skepticism. But, in true firefighter fashion, she let her passion and performance speak for themselves. She proved that being willing and being able aren't gender specific.

At L3Harris, we are immensely proud to recognize Deputy Chief Johnston and women like her who protect our communities every day. We believe in creating a workplace where everyone, irrespective of their gender, can thrive.

We invite you to join us in celebrating these remarkable women. Let's acknowledge their contributions, celebrate their achievements, and extend our support. Together, we can create a more inclusive and diverse future.