Meet Firefighter Paul Schecklman
Eighteen new firefighters graduated the MFD Fire Academy on November 6, 2015. We introduce them to you on the MFD Blog throughout December.
Current station assignment: Station 7 (McKenna Blvd.)
Why did you want to be a firefighter?
I grew up watching my uncle work as a firefighter and eventually as a Deputy Chief. I spent a lot of time visiting the firehouse. I'm not the only one in the family business either-- my cousin is on the job for FDNY in Manhattan, and another relative just retired from a long career in Florida. I enjoy the opportunity to learn daily and help people. I also love the variety and adrenaline.
Why did you want to serve in the city of Madison?
I worked as a paramedic with a private, non-profit service while part time with the Onalaska Fire Department. I went on to work for Eau Claire FD. In that time, I always had the goal to work for Madison. To be the best, you have to work with the best. There's a wide variety of roles you can pursue here, from investigation to HazMat, HURT, and SCUBA, in addition to being a paramedic, AE, and officer.
What has been the most rewarding part of your experience so far?
In the months I've been here, I've enjoyed working in a large firehouse within a large fire department. You meet a lot of people who have a lot to teach you. It is rewarding to know that on any given day you can dramatically affect someone's life for the better.
Looking back at the Fire Academy, what was the most challenging element?
The most challenging part of the academy was the pace. It was 100%, all the time. While challenging, I really enjoyed it. It forced me to learn, develop, and become better than I was. You learn pretty quick that you're not always as good as you thought.
What advice would you give to someone hoping to join the MFD?
First, make sure this is something you genuinely want to do and commit to it. My advice would be to set yourself up for success. It never hurts to have experience in emergency services. No matter your profession, you can build strong relationships and references. Stay focused and make yourself a great candidate.