Rita M. Francis, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, received her education in the Baltimore City public schools system. She attended James Madison University, and earned certificates as an Emergency Medical and Cardiac Rescue Technician from the Community College of Baltimore. Ms. Francis started her career in the emergency services arena with the Rockingham County Volunteer Fire Department, in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She secured employment as an Emergency Medical Technician and Dispatcher for a private ambulance service and in 1986 joined the Woodlawn Volunteer Fire Department, Baltimore County, Maryland.
In 1989, Ms. Francis became a dispatcher with the Howard County Bureau of Communications in Ellicott City, Maryland, where she dispatches fire, rescue, EMS, and police personnel. She is trained in hostage negotiation, domestic violence intervention, and is a national and Maryland State certified Emergency Medical Dispatcher. She is Senior Dispatcher Supervisor and is also an eighteen-year member of the Howard County Critical Incident Stress Management Team.
Ms. Francis has been a member of the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters (IABPFF) since 1992, and serves on the Executive Board of her local chapter, The Phoenix Sentinels of Howard County, Maryland, as Secretary. She is currently the Corresponding Secretary for the South East Region and is the Corresponding Secretary for the IABPFF. In 2006 Ms. Francis was presented with an Outstanding Service Award from the IABPFF.
Ms. Francis is single, and the proud mother of a son, Darius Staten.