Nicholas Hempel, Division Chief Racine Fire Department
Nick (Nicholas) Hempel Division Chief City of Racine (Wisconsin) Fire Department. I have spent 33 years in the fire service, serving in the US Air Force, USDA as a wild-land firefighter and almost
27 years with the City of Racine FD. I believe I possess the professional qualifications for this position, including a Master’s in Public Administration, B.S. in Fire Science, CFO and CEMSO designations, but the educational achievement I am proudest of is the IAFC’s Fire Service Executive Development Institute. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I have extensive experience at the Board of Director level, currently serving as Board President for two non-profit organizations locally. I have presented on behavioral health in the fire service locally, within my state and nationally. I work daily on improving the safety, health, and well-being of our firefighters. There is no nobler a calling in our profession than reducing the deaths, diseases, and conditions that afflict our firefighters.
Safety, Health, and Survival have long been a focus of mine. It seems merely surviving your career in the fire service without injury, anguish or worse is the best we can hope for, I cannot accept that. We freely and selflessly give of ourselves, and many of us end up scarred, both physically and emotionally.
I would like to advocate for the mental wellness of our firefighters. PTSD, suicide, anger and depression has plagued the fire service long enough. I will work to eliminate the stigma associated with mental and behavioral illnesses, end the bullying culture of our service and to increase the research, treatment, and acceptance of mental health in the fire service. I support physical fitness for our men and women. Physical wellness for firefighters is as important as physical fitness is for a professional athlete, additionally; physical wellness has a direct positive effect on mental wellness.