In The Jumpseat With Nick Higgins

1.      Where do you see the fire service in the next 5-10 years?

In the next 5-10 years, I see the fire service more overworked due to a lot more specialized areas we are focusing on but I more so see it much safer due to advancement in technology and how we train. 

2.      Of what you can see why has there been a decline in volunteers over the past decade?

I think a lot of why there is a decline in volunteers is because of the way the work life balance is and how the economy is going. More people are getting second jobs to support their families or working long hours in their job and don’t have the time to dedicate to a volunteer organization. Also, I think that there are fire departments, and this isn’t a knock on any or all but some have too high demands that a lot of good hearted individuals who want to dedicate time to help their communities can’t and are pushed away. In a way it’s understandable but looking at how the way society is changing volunteer departments need to recognize that and adjust accordingly. 

3.      Who in the fire service do you look up to as a mentor?

Well, for everything I do, I have a mentor for it. I would say for the fire service it would be David Wiklanski of New Brunswick FD in NJ and owner of Alpha Omega Training Solutions (he’s the one who got me ok into fire instructing and part of the motivation behind me starting this website) and also DC Frank Viscuso of Kearny FD in NJ just to name a few. I had the privilege to meet him a few times at lectures he’s given and read his books. Very inspiring and a true leader in every sense of the word. These are the guys I look up to and try to learn from as much as possible. 

4.      What book(s) are you currently reading?

I just recently finished, “It Worked for Me: In Life & Leadership” by General Colin Powell and now I am currently read “The Way of the Seal” by Mark Divine. 

5.      Looking at all the areas of the fire service (engine ops, truck co. ops, technical rescue, etc.), what area or areas do you tend to focus on the most? And why?

I tend to consider myself a student of the game and try to learn all areas the best I can so I am always ready for anything but I focus a lot on firefighter safety, fitness and rapid intervention. Growing up playing sports and playing at a junior collegiate level in baseball, fitness played a big role in that and afterwards I was able to translate that passion I had for fitness over to the fire service as well. In the grand scheme of things, all areas of the fire service are important but these are the ones I have an increased attraction to and very adamant about. 

6.      If you were to leave the fire service today, what mark do you hope to leave on it?

I’d hope that the topics I speak about and information I share resonate with the firefighters I ride with and have rode with. Hopefully they use what I’ve shared with them and share it with others. 

7.      What advice would you give young firefighters or men and women thinking of becoming part of the fire service?

Be yourself. Study, train and work hard. Remember 2 things:

1.      The fire service will always be here; it was before you and will be after you. Enjoy it while you can.

2.      Don’t make it your whole life. There’s a lot of life out there to live. Let this be one part of it. 

8.      What is the driving force behind your success?

For me, the answer is twofold. One part is the passion I have for helping others. It’s always been that way for me growing up but the biggest force behind it all would be my wife, Amanda. She’s never allowed me to give up no matter what was going on in anything I set out to do.

 A lot of The Firehouse Tribune has to do with her because she could see the passion I have for the fire service and wanted me to have a platform to engage audiences from all over to hear what I have to say. Because of this, I’m fortunate enough to have others on board to help with that vision and get their thoughts and ideas out there, which I didn’t think would have happened so fast but I’m very happy it did. It’s been a fun ride so far and plan on keeping it going. 

That is all for our first installment of "Station Talk". In our next installment we will sit down with contributor FF Nick Baskerville and learn about his passion for the fire service and what drives him to better himself and other around him so stay tuned!

Until Next Time; Work Hard, Stay Safe & Live Inspired.