WEST DES MOINES– This morning on Good Morning Iowa we sat down with Pleasant Hill’s new Fire Chief Jamie Xayavong.
Xayavong is the first female to have been named for this full-time role, but she is not new to the department. Prior to joining the fire department, Xayavong started as a dispatcher for the Polk County Sheriff’s Department in 2002. While serving as a dispatcher, a co-worker recommended she apply for the Pleasant Hill Fire Department, “So I did, I moved to Pleasant Hill with my family and got on and I moved up the chain of command from there.” said Xayavong
She has served as Lieutenant and as Captain during her 13 years with the department. For the last year, Xayavong has fulfilled the role of Interim Fire Chief.
In a statement, the Pleasant Hill Fire Department says women make up only 4.5% of the United States’ firefighters. Out of nearly 30,000 stations, only 150 have a female fire chief.
“I hope it encourages them to come and get on. There’s not many women firefighters out there, not very many fire chiefs are women,” said Xayavong.