Joan McDevitt has been around the fire service for most of her life, so she always thought of firefighting as something exciting to do. When she and her husband, Kevin McDevitt, now Chief, moved to East Norriton in the 1980s, she encouraged him to join.
“I didn’t think to do it for myself,” said Joan, but after riding along on the fire truck to one of the calls, Joan thought, “I could do this.”
In August 2001, Joan joined Norriton Fire Engine Company at age 42. With their kids out of the house, Joan had time to dedicate to the fire service. Additionally, she’s always been athletic and enjoyed the physical challenge of firefighting.
Volunteering has provided Joan with many opportunities. One of her favorites was attending the first female firefighting conference in the state in 2003. At the time, Catherine Baker Knoll was also Pennsylvania’s first-ever female Lieutenant Governor. She spoke at the conference to talk about why female firefighters are so important and encouraged the women in the audience to stick with it.
Joan encourages other women to grow and expand their ability as a volunteer. “You can do it! Come out and give it a try because you’ll never know if you don’t,” she said. “I learned I could do things I never thought I could do.”
Joan is currently on the Board of Trustees and serves as secretary. She has previously served as vice president and secretary of the fire company. Joan works as a data coordinator at ECRI, a healthcare nonprofit.
Are you up for the challenge? Sign up to volunteer at https://norritonfire.org/contact/.