The life of a firefighter or paramedic is unlike any other. There is no regular 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. work schedule — you go when called upon. And the work is far from normal. Just ask Maitland firefighter and paramedic Courtney Neisler.
Her morning starts out simple enough, as she and others check out equipment on the trucks to make sure everything is in order. After that, things get crazy.
On typical days, she and others at Maitland Fire Rescue follow inspections with morning training, which is sometimes put off when calls come in.
The rest of the day is filled with more emergency calls in which Neisler and others tackle everything from medical issues to fires.
Despite the hectic nature of the daily routine, Neisler wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
“It’s rewarding to help people,” said Courtney, who joined Maitland Fire Rescue in 2006. “It’s more rewarding than just making money.”
It’s the same feeling shared by her mother, Fire Chief Kimberly Neisler, who joined the department in 1982 at age 18. These days, Kimberly Neisler spends more time overseeing the department and working with the community than running into burning buildings, but she still gets that same satisfaction out of the job.
“We go back and visit some patients after we have encountered them on a 911 call,” Kimberly Neisler said. “Because we are meeting them at the worst time of their life, and sometimes in all of the hectic things that are going on, we are not able to find out much about them, and they don’t get to know us. We want them to know we care.
“We have met some of the most amazing people in the world,” she said. “Here in Maitland the residents are more than just customers; they are family. By being able to go visit them, we build relationships with them.”
Those aspects of firefighting — building the community and helping in emergencies — helps drive the mother-daughter duo in a field of work that requires long hours and constant work.
“She had 40-plus uncles in the fire department growing up, and so, being around the fire department and all those people,
she realized she wanted to be a
part of this as her lifelong career.”
— Kimberly Neisler
All that hard work has paid off in many ways over the years for the two, but it most recently got them recognized in a new fire service book, titled “American Firefighter.” The book, which profiles 53 fire service professionals from around the country, features the Neislers with a photo shot by Paul Mobley and a short written piece.
The book is recognition for the two who have committed their lives to public service and helping make the community a safer place.
It’s also a welcome acknowledgement of the lengths that the Neislers go — not only as firefighters and paramedics but also as registered nurses.
While Kimberly Neisler works solely for Maitland Fire Rescue now, Courtney Neisler, when she is not on duty for Maitland, works as an emergency room RN and sometimes actually goes from one job directly to the other.
Courtney Neisler always harbored an interest in nursing. Much of the dinner conversation that occurred in the Neisler household when she was in high school involved medical topics, her mother said. Although Courtney Neisler went back and earned her nursing degree, she changed her career thanks to having a second home at the fire department.
“She had 40-plus uncles in the fire department growing up, and so, being around the fire department and all those people, she realized she wanted to be a part of this as her lifelong career,” Kimberly Neisler said.
It also shouldn’t be surprising that the inspiration to serve the community is something that runs deep in the Neisler family.
Kimberly Neisler’s husband, Terry, is a retired Orange County deputy who now currently works as a police officer in Winter Springs. Twins Caitlyn and Caylee serve as registered nurses.
With all of those combined years in the fields of policing, firefighting and nursing, there is one thing the Neislers understand: living for the good that comes from working jobs that save people’s lives.
“Delivering babies is one of our highlights,” Kimberly Neisler said. “We love that … and also making a difference — being able to see the people who were on the brink of death that we can turn around. Also helping families cope when they do lose somebody — that’s part of our job.”