By Steve Jusseaume
Hampton Union, Friday, December 20, 2002
after Gaston's swearing in at the town offices on Thursday.
[Staff photo by Sarah Zenewicz]
HAMPTON - The Hampton Fire Department has hired its first female firefighter.
Shana Gaston, a Newmarket resident, was sworn in last week and has just completed her first four-day shift on the job.
"It's business as usual. We treat Shana like one of the guys," said Chief Hank Lipe this week. "Shana was the best candidate out there when we started our selection process, and she seems to be fitting in very well."
Gaston, 24, was previously a call firefighter with the Exeter Fire Department. She came "highly recommended," Lipe said.
Gaston was hired to replace Anthony DeRubbio, a former New York City firefighter hired by the Hampton department last summer. DeRubbio recently took a position with the Nashua Fire Department.
Gaston has a bachelor's degree from the University of New Hampshire. She has a commercial driver's license, which the Hampton Fire Department requires, is an intermediate EMT, and is certified as a firefighter 2.
All firefighter candidates go through the New Hampshire state exam process, which includes a written test and a physical agility test. Local fire departments go to the state listing when hiring new firefighters.
Lipe said no special arrangements are planned at the station house to accommodate the department's first woman firefighter.
"We're not changing anything. She may be a woman but Shana is a firefighter first, and we're treating her like any new probationary hire," Lipe said.
Gaston will be on probation for one year. During that time she will continue her state training, including training sessions at the state fire academy.
"It's good to be back up to full strength in the department," Lipe said, "and it's good to have Shana on board."