In a department comprised of more than 350 commissioned members, few can say they know every name and recognize every face.
Consider, then, what an achievement it is to know every name, every face, and have a direct impact on everybody’s career.
That is an accomplishment EMS Training Officer Beth Risler can celebrate, and she does so with pride as she prepares to retire after 22 years of dedicated service to the City of Madison.
Risler’s journey into the EMS world began in Brodhead, where she volunteered on the ambulance while serving full-time as the city’s Director of Parks and Recreation. The day job kept her busy with coordinating sports leagues, coaching, refereeing, and maintaining Brodhead’s recreational properties.
Equipped with a pager, the self-described “adrenaline junkie” would jump at the chance to respond to an emergency medical call whether in the middle of the night or while mowing the lawn at the local baseball diamond.
Although EMS kept her busy, she felt compelled to give firefighting a try.
“The big fire tones would go off and I’m like, ‘I want to do that too!’ because I was missing out on something,” Risler remembers.
A friend encouraged her to apply to the fire department. Being one of two women to do so raised some eyebrows but she “proved herself,” she said, and she felt supported along the way.
In 1995, she came to the Madison Fire Department with all the fire and EMS certifications she would have earned in MFD's Academy, but transitioning from a rural department to the city, she was excited to learn “Madison’s way.”
One of the biggest calls of her career occurred during her second day on the ambulance, when the Pharmacy Building on the UW-Madison campus collapsed. Risler and her paramedic partner were first on scene.
“I didn’t have a helmet, I didn’t have any gear on. We were just coming in to get this patient!” Risler recalled, referring to a person who was pinned underneath a concrete beam and could not be moved to the ambulance.
As others attempted to remove the concrete using airbags and other extrication tools, Risler positioned herself next to the man and kept him company for three hours. The incredibly challenging call was also very rewarding, she said, and resulted in a life-long friendship with the man whom she still sees on occasion.
During her decades of service, Risler also delivered a total of seven babies– five with the MFD and two as a volunteer in Brodhead.
Throughout her career as a Madison firefighter and paramedic, Risler remained on the city’s east side, serving from Fire Stations 5, 3, and 8, along with a stint at downtown Fire Station 1. She said there was something to enjoy about every station.
“I loved 5 because it was my first house and I loved the variety of calls. You get everything there. I loved 3 because it was in the Willy Street area, so you got to go downtown and have a variety of calls. I loved 1 because it was the big house— you got to be on the SCUBA team, you got to drive the Ladder downtown. And at 8, the triple company (Medic, Ladder, Engine), I liked the amount of people there, and I had really great crews.”
Risler met her husband, Doug Korducki, during the Fire Academy. He remains at the MFD as an Apparatus Engineer.
While Risler served on the east side, Korducki remained on the west side. These assignments were both strategic and family-focused.
“In case something tragic happened, I always worked east and Doug always worked west so we wouldn’t go to a fire and leave our kid orphaned,” she said, cognizant of the dangers of the fire service. Their daughter, Brianne, is now 16 years old.
In 2013, Risler was offered the opportunity to come to the EMS Training Division, a move that would allow her to change her schedule so she or Korducki could be at home with Brianne more often. The new assignment also revealed talents and passions Risler didn’t know she had!
“I didn’t know I liked to be a teacher until I came to the Training Division. I love being a paramedic, I love being a firefighter, but now I know I love teaching also,” she said.
Risler has been responsible for ensuring every EMT and paramedic is up to date on their licensing and certifications, and she’s trained and certified all new recruits in the last eight Academy classes.
When new equipment was purchased, she and her fellow training officers evaluated the equipment and trained the department on proper use. She also kept the city’s ambulances stocked at all times with the proper medications and other consumable supplies so patients received the utmost emergency medical care.
In addition to educating all members of the MFD, she also provided training to Dane County Regional Airport/Truax Field Fire Department personnel and CPR certification for employees at other City agencies.
Altogether, these were daunting tasks but Risler handled them with grace and enthusiasm. Aware she was teaching fellow “adrenaline junkies,” often in a classroom-style setting, she continually aspired to make her lessons both creative and engaging.
Though she steps down from her position at MFD, it’s unlikely she’ll give up teaching entirely. She also intends to volunteer; reacquaint herself with hobbies she used to have time for, like scrapbooking, gardening, and reading; and she looks forward to spending more time with her husband and daughter.
“I’ve touched everybody somehow,” Risler reflects. “I’ll miss the big family that this is.”
The “family” will miss her, too.
Risler with members of Recruit Academy Class 5 during their graduation, January 13, 2017.
Subscribe to Email List
- Meet Firefighter Michael Samosky
- Meet Firefighter Nickolas George
- Meet Firefighter Desmond Leidich
- Meet Firefighter Kyle Kampmeier
- Meet Firefighter Jonathan Clinkscale
- Meet Firefighter John Clooten
- Meet Firefighter McKinnan Stamschror
- Meet Firefighter Ryan Raisbeck
- Meet Firefighter Daniel Ramirez
- Meet Firefighter Brett Bower
- Meet Firefighter Bryce Powell
- Meet Firefighter Daniel Congdon
- Meet Firefighter Larry Moen
- Meet Firefighter Charles Campbell
- Meet Firefighter Casey Endres
- Meet Firefighter Benjamin Nevarez
- Recruit Class 6 Reports For Duty
- New Solar Panels Installed At Fire Station 12
- Fire Prevention Week: Fire Prevention Quiz
- Fire Prevention Week: Easy-To-See House Numbers Help Us Find You Faster!
- Fire Prevention Week: Practice Your Escape Plan!
- Fire Prevention Week: How To Make A Home Fire Escape Plan
- Fire Prevention Week: Every Second Counts -- Know 2 Ways Out!
- Now Accepting Firefighter Applications!
- CampHERO for Women Coming Up Saturday!
- A 'Thank You' Note To Our Partners On Stratton Way
- Madison Launches 'PulsePoint Verified Responder' Pilot Program
- Mesothelioma Awareness Day a Time to Reflect on Cancer Risk, Prevention
- Meet Lieutenant Jeffery Vogen
- Meet Lieutenant Chris Hammes
- Meet Lieutenant Wes Ecker
- Meet Lieutenant Chris Carbon
- Meet Lieutenant Linnea Anderson
- Meet Lieutenant Dan Williams
- MFD Introduces Six New Lieutenants!
- Upcoming Community Events!
- ER Docs Dive Into Firefighting During 'Doc Ops Day'
- MFD Lends Helping Hand At Gilbert Brown Football Camp
- Special Delivery: “Beltline Jax” Makes A Grand Entrance
- New Lease On Life: Oregon Man Reconnects With Crew That Helped Save Him
- 235 New Smoke Alarms Move Into Sherman Terrace!
- Captain Todd Steyer Wraps Up A Fulfilling 30-Year Career With MFD
- Calling All Volunteers! CampHERO Kicks Off Its 6th Season
- EMS Q&A: Where can I learn CPR?
- EMS Q&A: Did you know MFD paramedics are also firefighters?
- EMS Q&A: What should I expect after calling for an ambulance?
- EMS Q&A: What’s the difference between an EMT and a Paramedic? How many paramedics are on duty?
- EMS Q&A: Why does a fire truck come when I call for an ambulance?
- Meet Firefighter Maj-Britt Williams
- Meet Firefighter Adam Thimmig
- Meet Firefighter Ruth Savard
- Meet Firefighter Mike Reisman
- Meet Firefighter Trent Meicher
- Meet Firefighter Jonathon McCray
- Meet Firefighter Adam Lesser
- Meet Firefighter Patrick Johnson
- Meet Firefighter Kyle Homan
- Meet Firefighter Joe Gangler
- Meet Firefighter Justin Fehrenbach
- Meet Firefighter Matthew Dykstra
- Meet Firefighter Brandon Douglas
- Meet Firefighter Tamara Dinkel
- Meet Firefighter Marta Darrow
- Meet Firefighter Davy Calkins
- Meet Firefighter Ryan Beckwith
- MFD Introduces 18 New Firefighters!
- A Greener Firehouse: How Fire Station 12 LEEDs the Way
- Meet AE Brad Vogen
- Meet AE Vince Soto
- Meet AE Chad Powell
- Meet AE Daniel Pazurek
- Meet AE Todd Mahoney
- Meet Apparatus Engineer Cole Christenson
- Meet AE Derek Brown
- New Apparatus Engineers Now Serving In Your Neighborhood!
- Dane County EMS Banquet Honors Survivors, Responders Involved In Cardiac Saves
- On This Day In History: The First 911 Call Is Placed In 1968
- PHOTOS: Getting Up Close With The Lake Rescue Team
- Sable Flames "Second Alarm" Benefit Enters Its 24th Year
- Madison's Iranian Community Comes Together To Honor Firefighters
- Building Connections, Inspiring Kids: Engine 12 At Olson Elementary School
- Welcome Home: Cooper's Hawk Returns To Willy Street
- The Results Are In: 91 Donations Collected During the “Never Forget” Blood Drive
- Meet AE Ethan Dade
- Meet AE Wade Raddatz
- Meet AE Lance Radock
- Meet AE Jacob Conner
- Meet AE Dan Smith
- Meet AE Kevin Hembrook
- National Preparedness Month: Special Needs Disaster Planning
- Meet AE Tom Winter
- Meet AE Lori Karst
- MFD Introduces Eight New Apparatus Engineers
- Reflections On This 15th Anniversary Of 9/11
- Generous Grant Brings New "Jaws Of Life" Equipment To Ladder 6
- National Preparedness Month: Creating Communication and Evacuation Plans
- National Preparedness Month: Don't Wait. Communicate.
- Project SOAR and the MFD
- “Doc Ops Day” Gives ER Docs A Taste Of Firefighter Life
- Two Years After Accident, Family And First Responders Celebrate 'A Miracle'
- Madison Fire Aims To Keep Injuries Well Under Par At PGA Championships
- “It’s Been A Great Ride," Says Retiring Driver John Lucille
- A Thank-You Gift For All To Enjoy
- “Friday Nights At the Y” Returns In 2016
- Meet Lt. Lisa Becher
- Meet Lt. Derek Teff
- Meet Lt. Casey Preimesberger
- Resources For Candidates Preparing For the Physical Ability Test
- Meet Lt. Sue Juedes
- Meet Lt. Ted Higgins
- Meet Lt. Matthew Mialik
- Meet Lt. Michael McCartney
- MFD Introduces Seven New Lieutenants
- Inside The Galaxie: Making Madison's Newest High Rise Safer For All
- Edgewood Students Donate Stuffed Animals For Kids Experiencing Trauma
- Apparatus Engineer "Recon Bob" Says Goodbye After 25 Years Of Service
- New Boat Enhances MFD Lake Rescue Capabilities
- With Gratitude, Division Chief Ron Schwenn Bids Farewell To the MFD
- New Training Technology Aims to Offer Full Immersion, Minus the Risks
- In the Midst Of Transitions, Our Crews Don't Miss A Beat
- Finance Manager Rita Johnson Retires After 44 Years With the City
- Farewell to West District Captain Tom Reiter
- Meet Firefighter Caluster Buie
- Meet Firefighter Steven Foulks
- Meet Firefighter Richard Miyagawa
- Meet Firefighter Joshua Balli
- Meet Firefighter Matthew Boyle
- Meet Firefighter Oscar Castillo
- Meet Firefighter David Bartkowiak
- Meet Firefighter Christopher Staveness
- Meet Firefighter Michael Guerten
- Meet Firefighter Marcus Bobholz
- Meet Firefighter Joshua Ramsey
- Meet Firefighter Michael Olson
- Meet Firefighter Eric Popovich
- Meet Firefighter Paul Schecklman
- Meet Firefighter Brian Tremain
- Meet Firefighter Cameron Gasaway
- Meet Firefighter Vaughn Brockel
- Why We Do What We Do: Remembering the Our Lady of the Angels Fire
- Meet Firefighter Brian Bieganski
- Farewell To AASPIRE Intern Casey Tubbs
- Meet Lt. Tim Hagen
- Meet Lt. Jeff Mast
- Meet Lt. Matt Thomas
- Meet Lt. AJ Greenlee
- Meet Lt. Chris Homman
- Join The Team Current News
- MFD Introduces Five New Lieutenants
- Saving Santa at Station 3
- MFD Mailbag: Kudos For the Crew of Engine 7A
- Madison Fire Recruit Class 4 Begins
- MFD Begins Serving Towns of Blooming Grove, Burke Today
- The Madison Fire Department Prepares For Inaugural "Shake the Lake" Event
- The Heavy Urban Rescue Team Practices Life-Saving Skills
- Safety Saturday 2015: A Day In Photos
- Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Boss Lift
- Firefighter Fun Day 2015 is Saturday, August 8
- Retired Firefighter Tim Healy Inducted Into Madison Sports Hall Of Fame
- Firefighter Ty Stebbins Sworn In
Emergency Medical Services
- A Day In The Life Of A Madison Firefighter
- Alix Olson Award
- Awards & Recognition
- Battle Of the Badges
- Black History Month
- Cancer Prevention
- Community Outreach
- Dane County Public Safety Communications
- Fire Academy
- Fire Prevention Division
- fire prevention month
- Fire Prevention Week
- Fire Safety School Tours
- Fire Stations
- Firefighter Fun Day
- Friday Nights at the Y
- Hazmat Team
- Heavy Urban Rescue Team
- Hiring & Promotions
- Join the Team
- Lake Rescue Team
- Madison Fire EMS
- Meet the MFD
- Mesothelioma Awareness Day
- MFD Behind the Scenes
- MFD Mailbag
- MFD Prevention Division
- National Preparedness Month
- Our Lady Of the Angels
- public health
- Public Safety
- Sable Flames
- Safety Town
- Shake the Lake
- The American Center
- Training & Professional Development
- UW Health
- Wanda Fullmore Youth Internship Program
- Winter Safety