Rich Higgins

Richard Higgins, Ames new fire chief

Interim Fire Chief Rich Higgins has been named the next Ames Fire Chief.

“I am very pleased to welcome Rich to our executive leadership team," said City Manager Steve Schainker in a press release. "I am confident Rich possesses the necessary technical skills, leadership capabilities, commitment to our organizational values, and compassion for both our employees and citizens that will assure his success in his new position of Fire Chief.”

Higgins earned an associates degree from Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) in Ankeny, a bachelor's degree from Upper Iowa University in Fayette and a masters degree in public administration from Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Previously, Higgins joined the City of Ames Public Works Department in 2000. In 2002 he became a firefighter and in 2006 he was promoted to lieutenant.

Higgins served as a shift commander from 2009 to 2012 and was promoted to deputy chief.

The Ames Fire Department is comprised of 58 firefighters at three fire stations.

“The Ames Fire Chief plans and directs the activities of the Fire Department, which includes the Inspections Division, in the protection of life and property,” according to a press release.

The inspection division is made up of 13 employees.

The inspection division enforces state and city public safety codes surrounding building construction, maintenance and and use through issuing permits and conducting inspections.

The inspections division also enforces the city’s rental housing code, dangerous building code, property maintenance ordinances and sign laws.

Higgins stated he wants to “encourage community fitness through monthly workouts with firefighters,” according to the press release.

Higgins also said being able to provide citizens with fire safety education, first aid, CPR and AED trainings are important.

“While fire suppression and safety will always be our primary focus, we are looking at other initiatives to improve our connection with residents and improve their overall wellness,” Higgins said.

Previous Fire Chief Shawn Bayouth resigned in April after 10 years to join the faculty of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Ark. as the assistant professor of disaster preparedness and emergency management.

Higgins position will become effective Sept. 1.

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