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Someone You Should Know: Who is leading Sioux Falls Fire Rescue?

Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 4:00 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Matt McAreavey has been with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue for more than a couple of decades, and he’s been in his new role as Chief just for a little more than two weeks. Chief McAreavey is now in charge of more than 200 employees in his department. It’s been an adjustment for him.

“It’s difficult being removed from those crews. The mission with Sioux Falls Fire is kind of just built-in that we kind of get to go out, and we get to help people. And now I’m certainly much more in a support role that I just get to help the people that help the people,” he said.

McAreavey went from working 24-hour shifts to working somewhat of a desk job Monday through Friday.

“I got married after I joined the department and four kids now, and they don’t know any different than that shift work when we work 24-hour shifts,” he said.

The Chief started in the academy more than 20 years ago with Brian Christiaansen. Christiaansen is a Battalion Chief with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue.

“I had literally just moved down to Sioux Falls from Duluth, Minnesota. I was lucky to be hired on at Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, and Matt was one of my classmates,” Christiaansen said.

This was in 2002, and the two have stayed friends since.

“Matt kind of became my go-to person for things that I didn’t know about Sioux Falls and having been a fresh transplant of Sioux Falls, is the fact I knew nothing about Sioux Falls,” the Battalion Chief said.

McAreavey has always had that mentality. He’s always wanted to help where he can. That’s why he applied for the department’s top position, but he’s not planning any big changes.

“The last year has been a lot of change. It’s been a lot of change in every industry, and emergency response has been no different. So with that change, I think it’s a time to just kind of take a deep breath, settle into where we’re at now, look at what we’ve been doing, look at what we can change. But it’s really a time to just refine what we’re doing,” McAreavey said.

But Christiaansen said McAreavey can be an innovator.

“Matt is not scared to try new things, and he’s not scared to do things that are even new to the industry,” Christiaansen said.

If there is someone you think we should all know, email a nomination to news@dakotanewsnow.com.

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