MFD Says Farewell To Elevator Inspector Jim Ruszkowski
Oftentimes people step onto an elevator, escalator, or other conveyance without taking a moment to think about how it got there or who made sure it was safe.
That's where Jim Ruszkowski comes in.
He retires from the MFD after seven years as an Elevator Code Enforcement Officer in the Department's Prevention Division.
Ruszkowski worked as an elevator constructor for almost twenty years before he decided his career needed a lift.
With a job that required him to be on the road a lot, he knew he needed something that would allow him to be closer to his family.
He worked with the National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS) for a few months before the Madison Fire Department posted a job opening for Elevator Inspector, which he eagerly pursued.
As a code enforcement officer, Ruszkowski focused on new constructions and annual inspections of existing conveyances. He had an eagle eye for compliance to safety standards as he helped businesses and homeowners install new conveyances-- including platform lifts, stair lifts, dumbwaiters, escalators, and elevators. He further ensured businesses hired an elevator company to perform regular maintenance in between his annual check-up visits.
His commitment to safety meant thousands of people each year could confidently use these mechanisms without fear of them breaking down or causing injury.
In his two decades in the industry, he’s met people afraid of getting stuck inside the giant moving metal box, but he says there's very little to worry about.
“Elevators are the safest thing you can ride in,” says Ruszkowski. “They have a back-up to a back-up to a back-up. If something fails, something else will kick in.”
If you find yourself in a stalled elevator, he has simple advice: "Just sit there, relax. You'll get out as fast as somebody can get there.”
Ruszkowski dedicated his career to making sure such things don't happen under his watch. On new inspections, he double- and triple-checked hydraulics, pressures, cables, and belts. Elevators were run at full speed, simulating over-speed conditions to confirm the elevator stops properly.
What he’s loved most about working at the MFD was working directly with the firefighters.
Once based at Fire Station 3, he says both the elevator inspectors and firefighters benefited from collaborating with one another.
“We learned a lot from the firefighters — and we taught them some things about elevator rescue,” he says.
The inspectors occasionally joined the firefighters when they were dispatched to help someone from an elevator.
With retirement on the horizon, Ruszkowski will clear from his docket approximately 1000 inspections per year. But he’s not done yet.
"I’m too young!” he says with a chuckle. "I’m still going to keep my fingers in inspecting, but I’m going to be doing things at my pace.”
Ruszkowski also looks forward to spending time with his family and the horses, dogs, and cats he and his wife care for on their small Reedsburg farm.
After he departs, the Elevator Inspection Unit at MFD will continue plugging away at the 3000 or so inspections and installations it sees annually.
"I enjoyed my short time with MFD," says Ruszkowski. "I wish the elevator program a big success."
Subscribe to Email List
- 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
- 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.
- “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
- 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
- Firefighter Fun Day 2015 is Saturday, August 8
- Retired Firefighter Tim Healy Inducted Into Madison Sports Hall Of Fame
- Firefighter Ty Stebbins Sworn In
- A Day In The Life Of A Madison Firefighter
- Alix Olson Award
- Awards & Recognition
- Battle Of the Badges
- Black History Month
- Community Outreach
- Dane County Public Safety Communications
- Fire Academy
- Fire Prevention Division
- fire prevention month
- 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
- 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