Firefighter Jessie BowdenRecruit Class 8 is now serving at a fire station near you! Get to know Madison's newest firefighters.

Where are you stationed?
Station 7 (McKenna Blvd.), C shift

Why did you want to pursue this career?
Firefighting is a great way to give back to give back to my community in a way that continually fosters professional growth and allows me to be very hands-on on a day-to-day basis. The skills acquired on the job are so diverse and useful outside of the firehouse.

Why did you want to work in Madison, for the Madison Fire Department?
Working as a firefighter in Madison has given me the opportunity to give back to the community that I’ve grown up in. Madison is an amazing city, and the Madison Fire Department is an incredible department. The MFD is such a hard-working and welcoming group of people; that I have the opportunity to be a part of both is a dream come true.

What has been the most rewarding part of your experience so far?
The most rewarding part of my experience so far has been the opportunity to make someone’s day better. Whether by providing a medical service or just by taking the time to listen, I think that ability is one of the best things about this career.

Since graduating from the Academy, what are among the most memorable experiences you've had?
Each day in the firehouse brings a multitude of new and memorable experiences. Training on a roof and learning to cut different types of ventilation holes with a saw was definitely a new and fun experience! Going up in the bucket of Tower 7 for the first time and flowing water over a stretch of trees is something I won’t soon forget. But some of my favorite memories so far are sitting around the kitchen table with my crew.

Looking back at the Fire Academy, what was the most challenging part?
Coming from a non-fire background, the most challenging part of the academy was overcoming my anxiety of being put into uncertain situations. The daily repetition of instances like that in fireground training and EMS scenarios during the academy helped me overcome that unease and gave me the tools to translate that into going on calls every day.

What advice would you give to someone hoping to join the MFD?
Advice I would give to someone hoping to join the MFD is to really keep your sense of self throughout the process of getting on the department on onward. Working to join this department can be a long and indirect process. Whether you start with the application process, volunteer/work somewhere else, or begin taking classes, you meet a lot of people along the way and establish relationships. I believe it’s important to resist the urge to tailor your responses and behavior to mimic what you think people want to see, and to be really truthful about who you are.

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Category: Station 7, General