Amber McDougall                           Firefighter

                      Amber McDougall

What is your name? 
Amber McDougall

Current position in Chelsea FD? 

How long have you been in the fire service?  11 yrs

Why did you join the Fire service?  
I grew up in the fire house. I saw what my family did and how they help so many people and wanted to be apart of that.

Did you have certain expectations of what it might be like to belong to a Fire department prior to joining? 
Not really I grew up in this house so I was always around and knew mostly what to expect.

Were your expectations met? what was different than you expected? 
Yes. You have to put in more time then I expected at first. There are drills and training and meetings and calls all along with your regular home and work life and other extra curricular activities. It does put a toll on your home life sometimes.

What are your goals within Chelsea FD? 
I'm more then comfortable with my position as a regular Firefighter. Being an officer is a lot more extra work. It's not that that's what deters me from being an officer tho. I'm fully confident that I could do it, but sometimes officers can be bias to some things or people or actions and I'm not comfortable doing that. My dad was the chief and I was held up to be the same as everyone else, no special privileges  or exceptions. If anything I had to work harder to prove that it was just as normal as everyone else getting no special treatment. I enjoy most of the training, but its the same as anything, in school did you like sitting through your least favorite class lectures?

How has being a member of Chelsea FD affected your home/family life? 
Not really that much, my boyfriend is also a volunteer so it works out for the most part. It does get stressful sometimes tho. We could both get a call at the same time and I'm cooking dinner so I get stuck finishing it instead of going, but I know that we're both still doing what we can. I do wish I could be around more often, but I do have 2 jobs ,sometimes 3, but I still make it to training most of the time. So it might mean skipping out on spending time at home when I haven't seen him. You just have to prioritize your time with how it works for you, everyone is different. Different work schedules, plans, it all depends on the person.

What is your Primary occupation?
I work for a medical billing company full time. I also work as a part time bartender. I also sometimes pick up odd jobs from now and then, it all depends on what pops up. I dog sit, house sit, and run the bar when my boss is away along with my daytime job.

Why do you volunteer? 
I like to help people when I can. If that involves opening up a car after an accident to get someone to safety, then so be it. I enjoy it.

What is one thing that you would like to tell a potential new member? 
Be ready to put in the work. A lot of people join and end up leaving because its hard or they don't have the time. Its a big step, you have to get the training, which is minimal sometimes, but its a lot of time to get over the hump. Everyone thinks "its so cool your a firefighter, that must be fun". Its a job and people get hurt and you have to realize its not "cool ,that's fun" you're there to help people and sometimes that's hard. But if your interested it can be fun, but there is hard parts about it.