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Spotting the Rare Eves of Our Time: Meet Battalion Chief Lisa C. Forrest

Mar 12, 2022 04:00PM ● By Nana Ama Addo

“Women are leaders everywhere you look–from the CEO that runs a Fortune 500 Company to the housewife who raises her children and leads her household. Our country was built by strong women, and we will continue to break down walls and defy stereotypes.” - Nancy Pelosi

Firefighters are brave individuals who ensure the safety of communities when the going gets tough. Although most firefighters are known to be men, women also undertake this risky and heroic job. In 2018, the National Fire Protection Association reported that women were 8% of firefighters. One of the women who exemplify this valence is Lisa C. Forrest, a firewoman and battalion chief who has worked with the Philadelphia Fire Department since December 2003. 

Through her work, Lisa has worked her way up the ranks and broke barriers. In 2008, Lisa was assigned as the first female fire lieutenant to Engine 50 in North Philadelphia. On October 24, 2013, Lisa became the first African American female fire captain in the Philadelphia Fire Department when she was assigned to Engine 73 in West Oak Lane. On September 29, 2020, Lisa became the first African American female fire battalion chief in the Philadelphia Fire Department’s 149- year history. She is currently assigned at Battalion 01 in South Philadelphia as the HazMat chief, and is the second African American and first female to hold this position.

A woman of many accolades, Lisa is a graduate of the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute, a five-year program designed to “prepare tomorrow’s leaders in fire service today”, as well as a graduate of Community College of Philadelphia, the National Fire Academy, the Emergency Management Institute, and the Philadelphia Fire Academy. She is currently enrolled in an Emergency Planning and Management course at Immaculata University.

Lisa is a member of the following professional organizations: International Association of Firefighters Local 22 Firefighter and Paramedic Union, Philadelphia Fire Officers Union, and the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, Club Valiants Incorporated, where she is the president and the first female to hold this position.

In addition to her firefighter duties, Lisa worked as a part-time Disaster Action Team Leader at the American Red Cross from 2010 to 2013. When she is not helping to save the world, Lisa enjoys traveling, and spending time with her family and friends. We thank her for her service!

Works Cited 

 Nana Ama Addo is a writer, multimedia strategist, film director, and storytelling artist. She graduated with a BA in Africana Studies from the College of Wooster, and has studied at the University of Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Nana Ama tells stories of entrepreneurship and Ghana repatriation at her brand, Asiedua’s Imprint ). 

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