Recently, the Fernandina Beach Rotary Club welcomed Fernandina Beach Fire Chief Jason Higginbotham, who provided an update on the city’s fire-rescue department. Higginbotham, a graduate of Fernandina Beach High School and Florida State College, began his career with the fire department as a lifeguard in 1996. He went on to join the department as a firefighter and EMT in 2004 and recently was promoted to fire chief. Higginbotham said that the department has responded to some 1,932 calls this year and averages 100 EMS transports a month. While their primary responsibility is firefighting and emergency management services, department personnel also handle ocean rescue and lifeguard duties at six locations on Amelia Island. They also work closely with Nassau County Emergency Management on hurricane and natural disaster preparedness. In addition, the department handles all city fire inspection as well as hazardous materials response for the port, Rayonier, RockTenn, the railroads and the new natural gas pipeline. The department also offers public education classes on fire prevention, public safety and identifying and handling medical emergencies. Higginbotham closed by saying the department is made up mostly of men and women from the area who are very passionate about serving the community and keeping the city’s residents safe.