Squad 8

1. What is your name, title and years at FDNY? Where are you currently assigned, and what are your work-related responsibilities?

My name is Lacy Higgins. I’m a firefighter. I’ve been with the Fire Department in Fire Operations since January 2013. I originally joined the Fire Department as an EMT in April 2008, and while I was with the EMS command, I went from EMT to medic. I served in both of those titles while I was there.

Currently, I work in the Special Operations command, where we train on everything from Hazmat operations to technical rescues, including trench, high angle, confined space, collapse, advanced water rescue, extrication and firefighter removal. In addition to that, we respond to every fire incident on Staten Island. It’s excellent training, and it’s an opportunity for advancement that the Department offers within the firefighter rank.

2. What called you to a life of public service at FDNY?

I’ve always had an affinity for public service. When I was in college, I took my first EMT course as a way of earning extra credits.

I watched a lot of Third Watch as a kid, and I was kind of drawn to this line of work. I have two older brothers and an older sister. They’re all involved in public service-related work; my sister is on the volunteer side, one brother is in the FBI—he also served in the Army—and my other brother is a police officer. We all kind of went the route of public service.

I finished that EMT course, and it was one of the few things I did in college that was real-life related, which was exciting. I enjoyed the experience and realized I could get paid to do this. I followed through with this career choice and haven’t looked back since.

3. Can you share one of your most memorable moments while working at FDNY?

At the very end of my service in the EMS command, I was a medic operating in Battalion 44, and we had a call for a 16-year-old in cardiac arrest. When we got there, everything was going exactly how we chalk it up. Fire was on scene doing CPR, we started treatment, EMTs came and assisted us and we transported him to the hospital. We didn’t get a pulse back, but he had a shockable rhythm throughout. We handed him off to the ER staff, and I didn’t know what happened to him. I went back the next day, and they didn’t know his status. They did say they transferred him to another hospital in the City.

About a month later, we responded to the same exact address. I walked into the apartment, and when the mom saw me and my partner, she just started crying. The kid was sitting up in bed; he had an internal pacemaker and defibrillator that had gone off. He was alive and well.

You rarely hear what happens at the other end of the story, how everything turns out. That was the only time I’ve ever asked the status of someone I helped, and then to show up the next month to see him doing well—it was unbelievable.

4. What does We Are FDNY mean to you?

I think of people from tons of different backgrounds wanting to do good and who very genuinely want to see bad situations made better.

You have people with different experiences, maybe like myself they just happen to take an EMT course; maybe it’s someone who has a family lineage, or maybe it’s someone who saw our recruitment poster and is like, “Oh, let me try that out.” I think it’s amazing to have people of all different backgrounds coming together to serve a higher purpose.

5. What is your superpower (best quality or skill)?

My biggest superpower, I’d say, is that I thrive working in team environments. I’ve always enjoyed working in teams. Growing up, I played softball. When I was in college and my post-college career, I played rugby. I really like the idea of having a mission, working together, putting in the effort before games and then seeing your output on the field—and the Fire Department is very similar. You do a ton of training. You don’t have games every day, but you do a ton of training, and you’re preparing for that moment when you have to put all this work into action. I love it.

6. How does your role support the public safety mission of the FDNY?

You have EMTs, medics and firefighters who are doing the line work, showing up every day, literally responding to calls and interacting with people on the streets and in their homes. When someone calls 911, for them, it’s one of the most difficult days of their life. When we show up, we’re there to make their day better, and we try to fix whatever’s going on. And you know, there’s a ton of support staff in the Fire Department who make it possible for us to be in those challenging moments, to do our best to have a positive outcome.

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