Cassie Heikkila

Cassie Heikkila

“I think people skills and empathy are huge for anybody on the department, because you’re coming across people at one of the worst moments of their lives.”

Cassie Heikkila

Cassie Heikkila

Volunteer FFI/EMT

Station 3: Hoback

Where are you from? I was born and raised in Jackson.

How long have you been a part of JH Fire/EMS? One and a half years.

What made you want to join JH Fire/EMS? My sister is part of admin (wildland fire prevention specialist Bobbi Clauson) and I wanted to do something in the first responder field so I signed up just to sort of see. 

What made you want to be a part of a first responder field, what are you seeking in doing so? I’ve always been interested. I have a degree in criminal justice, so everything in my educational and personal backgrounds has been helping people. Being a part of Fire/EMS is a good way to keep up on helping people while also being a better member of the community.

What are your certs? Firefighter 1, Hazmat, Redcard, and EMT.

What’s your day job? I am a probation/parole officer. 

Favorite part of volunteering? I love being a part of the Station 3 family. Being part of station 3 and having them be my second family is awesome. It’s a dysfunctional family but we’re pretty close. I feel like the minute you walk in the door and say you’re interested, they take you in and they help you in any way possible. 

Most satisfying/rewarding part of volunteering? At the end of the day, knowing that you did something for someone other than yourself. 

Were you always interested in both the fire and EMS worlds, or did it start as one or the other? I think at first it was EMS, but then going through fire academy I realized that I definitely want to do both. Like obviously I liked fire, but I really wanted to be an EMT. As I made it through the fire academy though, I realized I really liked both.

Do you have any particularly hard/funny/stand-out calls? Probably the guy that broke a bottle of tapatio hot sauce in his car. He crashed his truck, there was tapatio everywhere, and we all thought it was blood at first. I couldn’t get the smell of hot sauce out of my nose for like three hours. The bottle broke in the crash and cut him, so he got hot sauce in his cut. I remember walking up and seeing him drenched in red stuff and I was like ‘holy s#$@ he’s covered in blood!’

The things you don’t think about every day. Seat belt your hot sauce, folks. 

What do you do in your free time? I try to do a lot of outdoor stuff, and I feel like lately it’s been a lot of school work for EMT and whatnot. 

What advice would you give new recruits? To always ask questions and to never feel stupid for asking a question. 

What do you wish you had known when starting? I wish I had spent a little extra time on some of the skills at the fire academy, or been a little bit more prepared when it came to what I needed to do for the fire academy in terms of how much time I needed to spend. If I could go back, I would spend more time practicing skills on weekends. 

What is the most important trait for someone on JH Fire/EMS? I think people skills and empathy are huge for anybody on the department, because you’re coming across people at one of the worst moments of their lives, they’re in some of the worst pain they’ve ever experienced, and having empathy but still being able to have people skills is important. Really knowing your patients, too.

What are your future goals in the department? I want to stay a member in the department for as long as I possibly can and then potentially further my EMT, and then also get through firefighter 2 academy.