ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — It’s a change to just half of a word, but the newly christened firefighters of one Maryland county who happen to be women say it makes all the difference.

The Baltimore Sun reports the Harford County Council this week passed a bill that changes references to “firemen” to “firefighters” in the county’s code, a move that was supported by Chief of Fire and Rescue Services John Butler.

The Howard County’s Volunteer Firefighter Association also changed its name to the gender-neutral, which former association president Julie Casey says is indicative of the county’s commitment to gender equity.

Assistant Chief Christine Uhlhorn has been a member of the department for nearly three decades. She said recruiting women has long been a challenge, and this shift will help girls envision themselves as firefighters.

Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com

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