Audra Carter Becomes Hoboken’s First Female Battalion Chief

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Here at Hoboken Girl, we’re all about women supporting women proud of the many accomplished females right here in our Hudson County community. From many female-owned businesses to healthcare workers to celebrating local ladies like Maria {aka Peggy} Diaz, Hoboken’s first Latina firefighter, our local community has a lot of ladies to admire and look up to.

This time around, we’re celebrating one woman in particular who has made history in the community just this week — Audra Carter. Today, Audra will be promoted to be Hoboken’s first-ever female battalion chief as part of the Hoboken Fire Department. We were lucky enough to get the chance to virtually sit down with Audra and learn more about her journey to this position and the story behind her career. 

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An 18-year veteran of the Hoboken Fire Department, Audra has served as a firefighter for the last decade and as Hoboken’s Fire Captain since 2011.

Beyond serving the city, Audra actually has some deep connections to the Mile Square — she’s a Hoboken BNR. “[I] knew I wanted to work with people and the community in some way,” she shared with Hoboken Girl.

Despite her incredible accomplishments as a first responder, Audra didn’t always aspire to be one, as it just wasn’t on her radar.

“[I] didn’t grow up wanting to be a firefighter but a friend suggested it to me and it was one of the best decisions I ever made,” she said. “I love what I do, I love going to work, no two days are ever the same I think that’s what I like about it most.”

But in 2002, Audra joined the fire department — and the rest is history.

See More: Meet Maria ‘Peggy’ Diaz: The First Latina Firefighter in Hoboken

Life on the Job

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Now being a firefighter is no small feat. These amazing first responders are running into the burning building while we’re all running out — and Audra and her team train every day to make sure that they are fully prepared to serve the community at quite literally a moment’s notice.

“[A] typical day on the job always consists of training usually twice a day,” she explained. “We perform hands-on training for instance raising ground ladders, stretching hoses, or performing a mock search and rescue to name a few as well as round table discussions. We constantly familiarize ourselves with the new construction being built and learning our response areas.”

Even with all that training and preparation, there are still some seriously scary days on the job, as these local heroes are risking their lives to save ours. Audra recalls one such nerve-wracking moment just three months into her career as a firefighter.

“If I can remember correctly, [a] call came in about 1:00AM as a working fire, all companies in town went,” she said. “One of the captains on duty at the time grabbed me and put me on the nozzle. We were there until the next morning until another crew relieved us.”

The good outweighs the anxiety-provoking in this career, however, and Audra shared that one of the reasons being a female firefighter in Hoboken so rewarding is because she gets to inspire younger generations.

“I like that young girls look up to me,” she shared with us.

“We get a lot of visitors in the firehouse (schools, Girl Scouts, etc) and the look on their faces when they see me is priceless. They mostly always say ‘I didn’t know women can be a firefighter.’  I always encourage them that yes they can be, they can be anything that they strive for.”

Becoming Battalion Chief

As of May 28, 2020, Audra will be sworn in as Hoboken’s first-ever female Battalion Chief and needless to say, she’s extremely proud of her accomplishment, titling it the highlight of her career.

“The highlight of my career has to be becoming one of the first female firefighters to join the department and then also being promoted to captain,” she shared.

Her new role will start by focusing on the training of the new first responders.

“[My] new position as Battalion Chief will vary a bit. As of right now, I believe I will be the training officer,” she shared with Hoboken Girl.

Regardless of how the position will diversify and grow, one thing is consistent — this is an incredible accomplishment for both Audra and for those who look up to her as she is a pioneer in her field.

Read More: The Life of Kelli Glancey: A Hoboken Resident + Artist

Life Beyond the Firehouse

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Now being a Hoboken BNR and living in town, there are times when Audra is not in the firehouse — meaning she knows the Mile Square pretty well.

When she’s not saving lives and putting out fires, Audra can be found spending her free time with her family and friends, particularly at Dino and Harry’s for a delicious meal {when the restaurant is fully open}.

When she’s not dining on something amazing from Dino and Harry’s, Audra loves visiting her favorite boutique in town – V Spot Nail  Spa. “I usually go there to unwind and relax,” she said.

And when it’s all said and done and she just needs time to clear her head, Audra can be found walking along the waterfront.

“[My] favorite spot has to be going for a walk along the river on Saturday and Sunday morning,” she shared with us. “[The] town is so peaceful and the view is priceless.”

Congratulations on your promotion, Audra!

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Arielle is a born-and-bred Jersey girl and like a true NJ native, half her diet consists of bagels and the other half pizza. As a graduate of both American University and City, University of London, she’s been a passionate writer ever since she wrote her first “book” in the first grade. When she’s not furiously typing away at her keyboard, she spends her time ticking places off of her “to travel to” list, trying any and all new foods, and trying to stop herself from spending too much money at Zara.