Yesterday, the Daily News reported that the Fire Department was starting a new advertising campaign to attract female and minority recruits. The U.S. Justice Department has been investigating the FDNY's diversity, and at a City Council meeting, the FDNY said its 8.6% of its 11,491 members are minorities and 0.2% are women. Yeah, that's not very diverse. The NY Times reports the ads will shower a softer side of the FDNY: "firefighter in civilian dress spending time with her daughter in a park, lieutenants at a backyard barbecue and firefighters playing basketball in a gym." And the Times also has a graphic showing that many of the minorities and women who apply to the FDNY drop out even before taking the exam. Maybe it's because the FX show Rescue Me (supposedly to be the most realistic depiction of a firefighter's life but with lots of dramatic license) is too realistic about the hazing?

The FDNY says it hopes to promote EMTs to firefighters. Critics of the FDNY's hiring practices remain skeptical of what the FDNY's new efforts, especially since the exams won't be changed. And the ads are coming from the Arnell Group, which Adrants notes has "handled projects for Diageo, Mars, Reebok, Unilever and the not so great project for Diamler Chrysler now known as the Celine Dion Disaster. Nobody's perfect."

Photograph from the FDNY site of its recent graduating probationary firefighter class; from this, we can't see any women or any minorities