*UPDATED: New Chief Of EMS Named!!!*
It appears that the mayor’s promised investigation of the poor emergency response during Blizzageddon 10 has claimed its first victim in FDNY Chief Of EMS John Peruggia, who was relieved of command this afternoon.
Chief John Peruggia is an Assistant Chief with the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) and is currently designated as the Chief of the EMS Command, where he is the ranking officer in charge of the department’s EMS Command. His career started in 1983 as an Emergency Medical Technician, and shortly thereafter, he attended paramedic training at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Jacobi Hospital, being promoted to Paramedic in 1985. In January 1989, he was appointed as a Lieutenant.
Shortly following the 1996 merger of NYC*EMS into the FDNY, he was promoted to Captain. In 1999, Captain Peruggia was promoted to Deputy Chief where he served as the Executive Manager for Planning. In 2001, he was again promoted, this time to the position of Division Chief, and put in charge of the Department’s Operations Planning unit. Following the attacks of September 2001 and a critical review of the response, the planning unit was expanded to the Operations Planning and Strategy unit where he continued his work in developing plans and procedures to help strengthen the Department in its’ preparedness efforts In 2003 he was promoted to Deputy Assistant Chief and finally, in July 2004, he received his last promotion, to Assistant Chief, as was designated as Chief of EMS Command.
In January 2004, Chief Peruggia completed the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program, a four-year program aimed to develop leaders in the field of Fire Service, the first member of the FDNY to earn such a distinction. In June 2004, Peruggia graduated from the FDNY Fire Officer Management Institute (FOMI) and in 2005 completed the FDNY Counter-Terrorism Leadership program. Aside from holding a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Disaster Management from Thomas Edison State College, Peruggia is currently considering to expand his educational horizons and has applied to the Master of Arts program in Homeland Security at the Naval Post-graduate College.
While details are still being confirmed, the impression is that the overall Blizzageddon response and lack of top level critical decisions being made in a timely fashion coupled with individual tragic stories all led to the move by the administration.
With a snow storm forecasted to hit the New York City area again early Friday morning, who will lead EMS during this potential crisis remains uncertain…
*UPDATED* Chief Abdo Nahmod Appointed Chief Of EMS
Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano announced on Jan. 5 that Abdo Nahmod, a 25-year veteran of the Department, has been appointed Chief of FDNY’s Emergency Medical Service Command effective immediately.
“Chief Nahmod has shown tremendous dedication to this Department and to the people of New York City throughout a long and distinguished career,” Commissioner Cassano said. “With an advanced degree in Homeland Security he earned earlier this year and several years overseeing FDNY’s Emergency Medical Dispatch, he will continue our mission of providing New York with the best Emergency Medical Service available anywhere.”
For the past three years, Chief Nahmod has served as a Deputy Assistant Chief overseeing Emergency Medical Dispatch. He grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, and moved to Paris with his family in 1967. Two years later, they immigrated to the United States, where he went on to study health science at the College of Staten Island.
While in school, he worked for six years with a volunteer ambulance company in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn before joining the city Emergency Medical Service as an EMT in 1986.
Over the years, he was promoted up through the ranks and, as a Captain, was tapped to head the first combined Fire-EMS station in Rossville, Staten Island. He was promoted to Deputy Chief in 2004 and served as Staten Island Borough Commander before being promoted to Chief of Emergency Medical Dispatch in 2008.
Chief Nahmod earned a Master’s degree in Homeland Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey, Calif., in March. He was recognized five times during his career for meritorious service.
“Emergency Medicine, for me, has always been a calling, not a job, and the Fire Department has given me the opportunity to fulfill this calling,” said Chief Nahmod. “I couldn’t be happier to take on the important role of overseeing the world’s greatest Emergency Medical Service and I’m honored to have the opportunity.”
Chief Nahmod replaces Chief John Peruggia, who has served as head of EMS Command for the past six years and will continue his career with the Department in a new role to be determined.
Commissioner Cassano is elevating the Chief of EMS position from three to four stars in recognition of the growing stature and importance of the EMS Command, which responded to a record 1.26 million calls last year.
The choice of Chief Nahmod is both a bit shocking, but not totally unexpected. It is important to note that it was under Chief Nahmod that two FDNY dispatchers left a woman to die in MetroTech’s Au Bon Pain and only received departmental discipline of a 30 day suspension prior to criminal charges being filed. While it would have been nice to have seen Chief Francis Pasquale or Chief Debra Cali elevated, bringing to the department its first female Chief of EMS as well as leaders known for uniting instead of dividing, the choice shows that the “good ole boys club” is alive and well in FDNY.
Nevertheless, we wish Chief Nahmod our warmest congratulations and best wishes on his new appointment. Our best advice? With the forecasted snow storm get in touch with Sanitation now instead of Saturday morning to team up ambulances and plows.
We also wish Chief Peruggia the best of luck, in whatever role the Commissioner uses to send him to the glue factory.