Becky McCright, the Verona Fire Department’s first battalion chief, said she became a firefighter to build a relationship with the community.
She said the career has become a passion because of the way it is integrated with the residents, business owners and other city departments.
Her first day as battalion chief was Monday, March 29, after serving with the Sun Prairie Fire Department since 2006; first as a volunteer and then moving her way to fire captain.
“There were so many parts to the role, from public education and prevention, to emergency medical services, and working with groups who had the same drive to make the community the best it could be!,” McCright wrote to the Press in an email.
Originally from the Waukesha area, McCright graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and said she looks forward to working in the department during a time of growth for the City of Verona.
The fire department started recruiting for the position in September 2020, after fire chief Daniel Machotka vacated his previous position as deputy chief, being promoted to chief in May, 2020. The battalion chief will assist the department in maintaining the policy and procedures of the department, training, inspections and managing staff. They will also manage scenes on larger calls and manage the team when multiple calls come to the department.
McCright answered questions from the Verona Press, her answers have been lightly edited.
Tell readers about yourself, beyond your resume?
I have two kids and one furbaby. We love being outdoors and being active, whether it’s playing sports or building forts in the snow. Our family is a big Milwaukee Brewer fan and we enjoy watching baseball.
Why were you interested in the battalion chief position?
The Verona Fire Department has amazing members and a great community to serve. When the opportunity for the battalion chief opened up, I was excited for the chance to take a step up in leadership and increase my responsibilities while learning more about the fire service. The fire department is growing and I wanted to be a part of that.
What are your main goals over the next couple months? Over the next year?
My main goals are to meet the firefighters, and to learn from them as much as I can; on who they are, the great things Verona Fire is doing and more about the community we serve. I am looking forward to building relationships with the community members and departments, as well as help Chief Daniel Machotka progress towards his goals for the department.
What will be some challenges with this role?
I am looking forward to learning the area, and more about Verona. I am also excited to see the growth in both residential and business that is happening in the area. As neighborhoods and businesses develop, it is good to train on new roads going in as well as the type of construction being used. This can play a large role in what happens during a fire as well as how the firefighters have to solve any scenario that may come their way safely.
What are you looking forward to in this role?
I am looking forward to meeting new people and hearing about their experience in the fire service. I am also excited to be a part of the growth Verona Fire is going through all while providing a great service to the community.
Will your role involve community engagement and education? If so, how do you plan to do that?
Being in the fire service, every role involves community engagement and education. Even if it isn’t in a formal setting, we are always sharing how to be advocates for individuals and their safety. In my career, I have been given the opportunity to play a large role in prevention and education which is a passion of mine. As a child passenger safety technician (car seat tech), I hope to be able to help continue the mission of Safe Kids Coalition coast to coast in preventing unintentional childhood injuries and be another resource for the residents of the Verona area.