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The Future Firefighter: Fire Engineering Blog Talk Radio Show with Assistant Chief Juratovac

The Future Firefighter Episode 1798

“All that I am I owe, I live eternally in the red.”– Dr. Carl Holmes



“I can’t help but tell you that it’s all about the mentorship.  Without the direction and guidance of those who have come before us, there is no way that either one of us would be here.  The main message I want to relay to everyone is this, we can’t do this job alone.  Whether you are a woman or a man, you are going to need the advice and the guidance that we all need in every profession to succeed and thrive.” – Assistant Chief Nicol Juratovac


“The thing about mentors is they believe in you more than you believe in yourself.”  - NPJ



“They have guided me throughout my 21 years in the San Francisco Fire Department. Right around year number five, I realized, that I wanted to be like some of my mentors and start giving back.  I owe my mentors quite a bit.  I could do anything I wanted in the Fire Department.  Whatever my goal was whether to be the best driver, the best tiller or the best lieutenant.  If it weren’t for these men, I wouldn’t be where I am at today as an Assistant Chief for the San Francisco Fire Department.” – Assistant Chief Nicol Juratovac



“You are never going to be good enough to some of the people that may view you in a certain way.  Whether it is due to stereotypes or their own implicit basis, so it was a big learning experience for me that this is not about winning a popularity contest, it’s about being respected.  And in order to get that respect, you have to know your job.  I engrossed myself in all the training classes and worked at the busy stations as much as possible to build up that experience and continue my education.  And really not only proved to myself that I do belong but to build on those building blocks as much as possible; because there is never a day we stop learning.  The old saying goes the day we stop learning is the day we retire.” – Assistant Chief Nicol Juratovac

“You have to realize that yes, it is rewarding, but it is incredibly physically demanding.  This is a job where it really draws on your emotion, mental, spiritual, physical and in that way, it is incredibly satisfying.  And of course, the end product is that you are helping people, you are saving lives, you are risking your life for the life of another.  There is honor in that and I believe what we do is God’s work.  It is incredibly self-sacrificing, but I know that it is a hard job and it gets more difficult if a person is not in shape.” – Assistant Chief Nicol Juratovac



  1. Experience
  2. Training
  3. Education



“You have to be the hardest working firefighter of anybody that you know.  Because the harder you work the luckier you get.  You have to be willing to roll up those sleeves and give it all that you got.  There is nothing that any of the women out there can’t do, if they are willing to really put in the work.”  – Assistant Chief Nicol Juratovac



  • International Association of Women in Fire & Emergency Service (iWomen)


The mission of the International Association of Women in Fire and Emergency Service (iWomen) is to provide a proactive network that supports, mentors and educates current and future women in the fire and emergency services. iWomen is dedicated to improving the fire service through the involvement and success of women. 

Becoming a Firefighter – Firefighter Career Resource Center


  • TripleF - Fabulous Female Firefighters


Our mission is to thrive on the fire ground while growing into skilled, knowledgeable, and confident firefighters. Regardless of the challenges we face, we will strive to support our fellow sister and brother firefighters while conducting ourselves with honor.


  • CCSF Women's Fire Science Association


CCSF Women's Fire Science Association is a peer support group for female fire science students. We help each other pursue the great career of firefighting!


  • CCSF Fire Science Technology Mentor/Recruitment Program


This is a grant-funded program that fosters and develops historically under-represented candidates to achieve their goal of becoming a firefighter. Help candidates achieve their dream of becoming a firefighter through education, training, and experience!



  1. Physical obstacles including upper body strength and cardiorespiratory endurance.
  2. Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT).
  3. The overall physical aspect of the job.
  4. Mental obstacles including worrying about nothing and wasting valuable energy.
  5. Allowing other people’s views and biases to interfere with your ability to do the job.
  6. It is not about winning a popularity contest, it is about being respected.



  1. You can’t do this job alone.
  2. Seek a Mentor for advice and guidance.
  3. Visit local fire stations.
  4. Visit your local Community Colleges.
  5. Build up your specific job knowledge.
  6. Get involved in a physical fitness program.
  7. You have to be the hardest working firefighter out of anybody that you know.
  8. Never stop learning.
  9. In order to earn respect, you have to know your job.
  10. It is a hard job and it gets more difficult if a person is not in shape.


Top 10 things to do that increase your odds of getting a job.  (Not in any specific order).

  1. Have a Mentor.
  2. Enroll in a local Community College Fire Technology Program.
  3. Attend a physical fitness related group for example – “The City College of San Francisco Firefighter Boot Camp.”
  4. Complete the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT).
  5. Complete an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program.
  6. Complete the National Registry Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT) exam.
  7. Volunteer for your local community.
  8. Contact a local Fire Department recruiter.
  9. Attend a Fire Department Career Information session.
  10. “There is nothing that any of the women out there can’t do if they are willing to really put in the work.” - NJP


“Everything I’ve ever done has never, never been for Carl.”– Dr. Carl Holmes


Listen to this episode of the Fire Engineering Blog Talk Radio Show.

City College of San Francisco Fire Technology Program

Full Biography

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Assistant Chief Juratovac received her Bachelor’s degree in English and Minor in Asian American Studies from U.C. Berkeley.  She then worked in the business and marketing field prior to obtaining her Juris Doctorate. She is also a graduate of CCSF, having received her A.S. in Fire Science Technology and Certificate in Fire Protection. She has been an instructor at CCSF's Fire Science Technology Program since 2003 and at its Fire Academy since its inception.  Chief Juratovac has been with the SFFD since 1997 beginning at the rank of Firefighter/EMT.  Chief Juratovac is currently assigned to Division 3 overseeing Battalions 2, 3, 6, 9, and 10.  Division 3 also responds to the San Francisco International Airport.  Chief Juratovac ensures a learning environment that fosters dignity and respect for all students so as to create an interactive and productive setting. Her goal is for each student to have him/her use her class and others at CCSF as a conduit to an Associate degree so that many more doors of opportunity may swing open (i.e., admission to a four-year university, an entry-level position as a Firefighter and or Paramedic, etc.).




Chris Baker, has over twelve years of experience in volunteer, combination, and career, fire departments in California. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology and Associates of Science Degree in Fire Service Command, Company Officer.  Chris is a California State Fire Training certified Fire Officer, Driver-Operator, Fire Instructor, and Lead Firefighter I Certification Evaluator. He is a Fire Science Instructor in the California Community Colleges System.  Chris is a member of the California Fire Technology Directors’ Association and the California Training Officers Association.  He served as a volunteer Peer Reviewer on the FY 2017 Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) for both hiring and recruitment/retention.  Chris also served as a Peer Reviewer on the FY 2017/2018 Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG).  He is a Volunteer Advocate Regional Manager, Region IX (CA, NV, AZ, HI) for the Everyone Goes Home Program through the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Chris also serves as a volunteer member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Safety, Health and Survival Section serving in their staging area.  He is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Fire Heritage Center located in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  Chris is a National Fire Service Instructor teaching at notable fire conferences across the country.  He is the co-host of the Fire Engineering: The Future Fighter Podcast.  Chris writes blog articles for Firefighter Nation, Fire Rescue and Fire Engineering Magazines on mentoring the future generations of the fire service. 

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