Meet Firefighter/EMT Melanie Petersen

Firefighter/EMT Melanie Petersen

Where have you been stationed so far?
Station 11 (Morgan Way), Station 4 (Monroe Street), and Station 10 (Troy Drive) on the ‘C’ shift.

Why did you want to work in Madison or for the Madison Fire Department?
I have lived in and around Madison my whole life. I love this community—the energy, the diversity, the landmarks. I have always heard great things about MFD, but it wasn’t until after I was hired that I understood just how special this department is.

What has been your most memorable experience so far as a firefighter/EMT?
Getting called out to a golf course for a man down and getting to ride standing on the back of a golf cart to get out to the patient.

What has been the most rewarding part of your experience so far?
It’s cliché to say it but helping people. I’m grateful to bring my compassion to calls and try to make those moments a little less scary. On one of my calls, I was able to hold a young woman’s hand, help calm her, and show her compassion. I’m so grateful for that interaction because I found out she passed a short time later.

Looking back at the recruit academy, what was the most challenging part?
Obviously, the physical nature of the academy was incredibly challenging. But for me it was the mental game I had to play with myself. To battle a part of me that kept saying, “I can’t do this,” and the feelings of not being good enough. But having a great support network around me, classmates that were so incredible and supportive, and a trust in myself that I do have something to contribute to this career helped me through those tough times. 

What advice would you give to someone hoping to join the MFD?
Trust the process. Don’t not apply because you don’t know if you can do the job. Don’t quit because you don’t know if you can make it through. Just get through that next step. If there are things you don’t know yet, trust they will teach you. If there are skills you don’t have, trust they will show you. And don’t get yourself into any trouble in the meantime. 

Feel free to share any other stories or “fun facts” about yourself! 
I’m married, have an 11-year-old son, 9-year-old daughter, and a tiny 10-pound pup. Our favorite thing to do is spend time on the water. Tubing, water skiing (or watching people water ski, in my case), fishing, cruising. I hold our family record for large mouth bass – 23.5”, 5.5lb.


This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison Fire Department.

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