Firefighter Rick Herrin Visits Gables


Austin Herrin

Rick Herrin is a hometown hero, retiring just last year after 32 years of service with the Miami Dade Fire Department.

Aliyah Symes, Staff Writer

On Friday, Jan. 9, Gables was home to a hero. Retired firefighter Rick Herrin showed up at CGHS to speak about his incredible career. Boasting over 32 years of service (something he is incredibly proud of), Herrin has been saving lives and eradicating hazards with incredible skill.

“I’ve been retired for two years and there isn’t a moment where I don’t miss those old firetrucks,” Herrin said.

Herrin spent the first ten years of his career as a firefighter in the Downtown Miami area, in District 2. He was promoted to lieutenant at Station 9, and later spent thirteen years as captain of Station 1 before retiring. But how did his career get started?

“I was a junior in high school, and I went on a tour with a fire rescue/EMT. There was a man with an arterial bleed, and the EMT occluded (blocked) it with his finger. I knew then that I wanted to do this as a career,” Herrin said.

But that career wasn’t easy. There are a lot of conditions and skills needed to be an individual in this career path. According to Herrin, you have to be a certified EMT, receive a paramedic’s license and become a state-certified firefighter. It’s also beneficial to learn to free dive and rescue, and become apt at high speed driving in order to handle emergency vehicles. Herrin himself was an EMT, a hazardous materials technician, which specializes in chemicals and gases, sometimes even WMDs (weapons of mass destruction). To become a firefighter, it takes more than lifting weights and having bulging muscles, even if you have to be strong enough to carry upwards 45 pounds of gear on the scene. They have to be conditioned and (oddly enough), have to respect the fire.

“You cant go in there thinking you’re bulletproof. Everything in this world can burn,” Herrin said.

To Herrin, the best part about being a firefighter is his team.

“We’re all together in a house where all of your brothers and sisters–we consider ourselves brothers and sisters–live together, spend 24 hours together. There’s a bond there; these guys are watching your back,” Herrin said.

That sense of family and belonging has carried him far over the last 32 years. A brave man who battles the force of nature itself to make sure that people stay happy, healthy and safe, Rick Herrin is an inspiration to all of the people he interacts with.