Meet Firefighter Chelsea Utzerath
Recruit Class 8 is now serving at a fire station near you! Get to know Madison's newest firefighters.
Where are you stationed?
I’m at Station 5 (Cottage Grove Road) on the ‘C’ shift.
Why did you want to pursue this career?
I worked a desk job for 10 years and decided I wanted to make a change. I didn’t know what new career I was seeking, but the first time someone suggested MFD, I couldn’t stop thinking about becoming a firefighter/EMT to help people in the city of Madison.
Why did you want to work in Madison, for the Madison Fire Department?
I had been thinking about a career change for about a year when my brother-in-law suggested the fire department. I had a few months over the summer of 2017 to think about it before the application process opened up. I was already living in Madison and working from home for a small company in Minnesota when I decided I wanted to make a difference in the community.
I grew up in Beaver Dam and spent a lot of time in Madison and knew this is where I wanted to settle down. I applied later in 2017 thinking it was a long shot but kept making it past each step of the hiring process and started believing I was what MFD was looking for. I was offered a position to start the academy in October 2018 and wouldn’t let anything get in the way of a dream job.
What has been the most rewarding part of your experience so far?
Knowing that I’m making a difference in the community. I love getting calls at 3 A.M. with my engine crew on our way to help someone who needs us. Also, meeting some of the most caring, passionate, and empathetic people in the city of Madison in the academy as classmates and training staff and in the field.
Since graduating the Academy, what are among the most memorable experiences you’ve had?
Showing my family Fire Station 5 and teaching them about the fire service. This career is new for all of us. I’m the first in my family to be a firefighter. They’re nervous and scared, but thrilled, so the more I educate them and show how exciting it is, the more they understand why I chose this career. I love sharing my experiences with my friends and family!
Anything else you’d like to share about yourself?
I played volleyball and graduated from Bemidji State University in northern Minnesota and worked in the GIS (geographic information systems) business for 10 years before starting with MFD.