Meet Firefighter Benjamin Nevarez
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Where are you stationed?
I’m assigned the C shift at Station 7 on the west side.
Why did you want to pursue this career?
Up until I was about 6 and first walked into a fire station, I wanted to be a police officer. After going through the fire station, I couldn’t stop talking about it. My dad came home one day and told me he joined that same fire department as a volunteer. Since that day, I’ve loved the image that firefighters and fire departments have in their community. I wanted to pursue the career of firefighting because no two days are the same. I’ve never seen myself working in a profession where I would be sitting down for work, or where I was stuck inside. Working as a firefighter, you get to meet and see people in the community, and you never know what you’re going to do when you show up to work.
Why did you want to work in Madison, for the Madison Fire Department?
The Madison Fire Department is a very progressive department. It’s always been a dream of mine, being born in Madison and living on the west side, to work for the Madison Fire Department. Madison brings with it many great attributes. The city has quite a nightlife during the summer, with events always occurring on the lake and around neighborhood parks, but also during the fall, where students return to the University and the start of Badger football. And being the state’s capital with a population of over 250,000, Madison has quite a diverse culture and history that cannot be ignored. I look forward to having the privilege of serving the amazing communities that Madison houses.
Looking back at the Fire Academy, what was the most challenging element?
The most challenging element for me was finding a good balance between home and work. In the academy we’re given assignments pertaining to our next lesson, and sometimes it was hard to come home tired, finish the assigned homework, and find time to spend with my family. Some days we didn’t have homework assignments but, physically, I was exhausted. My family was very understanding, and definitely were a huge supporting factor in my success through the academy.
What advice would you give to someone hoping to join the MFD?
I could write a dissertation on advice to give someone hoping to join the MFD. The first would be to stay physically active. Firefighting is a dynamic career, and it’s important to be in shape for whatever the emergency, medical or fire. Another is to get your EMT license. I write this while 8 members of my academy are in an accelerated EMT course. Take the time to commit to EMT, and possibly volunteer on an EMS service. The majority of the call volume by the Madison Fire Department is medical-related. Although firefighting certifications are important, EMT is more of a time commitment. The last bit of advice would be to practice your interview skills. Practice by looking yourself in a mirror and have a set list of questions to answer, or even have a trusted friend or family member interview you. It may feel awkward, but the interview process is the most important part of joining the MFD!
Anything else you'd like to share about yourself?
Before I reached school age, my family and I lived in Station 7’s territory, where I’m stationed now! Even at such a young age, I remember seeing Ladder 7 and Engine 7 come when there were calls in our apartment complex (there were frequent false alarms). Now I have that same pleasure and honor to respond and serve the neighborhood I once was a member of.