On Wednesday, October 18th, Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro presided over the graduation ceremony of 279 probationary Firefighters at Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn.
“Our Department is growing more inclusive every day, and better representing every community we bravely serve with more than 50% of our Probies identifying as people of color,” said Commissioner Nigro. “Throughout your training, you’ve all undergone a transformation, from raw, new recruits at the academy, to polished, professionals ready to meet the demands of this job, head on.”
People of color comprise 51.6% of the 279 graduating probationary Firefighters – 24.7% identify as Hispanic, 22.2% as African-American, and 3.9% as Asian-American/Pacific Islander. There are four women in the class, bringing the total number of female Firefighters to 68 – the highest total in FDNY history. There are 35 veterans, representing all five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
“Every new class of Probies is a tremendous benefit to the entire Department – you are a symbol that the FDNY is always moving forward and working to improve how we protect our city,” said Chief of Department James E. Leonard. “In the FDNY, you must be ready on day 1 to fight a fire and if needed – save a life. Being a member of this Department is not what we do, it is who we are.”
Several members of this probationary Firefighter class were inspired by family and life-changing events to join the Department.
“The first time I was introduced to the Fire Department was through my dad, Frank Palombo. I was seven years old when he passed away,” said probationary Firefighter John Palombo. “In the FDNY, we are a family. I will be making a difference in this world, and I can go home every night knowing that. Probationary Firefighter Palombo’s father is Frank Palombo – who made the Supreme Sacrifice on September 11th, 2001. His brother Thomas Palombo is a Firefighter at Engine Company 69.
Probationary Firefighter Assem El Ghaziri was a former iron worker from Local 40 that helped build the Freedom Tower. “I worked on many buildings as an Iron Worker, but being a part of the Freedom Tower project was the most significant and meaningful to me,” said probationary Firefighter Ghaziri. “It was for a cause much bigger than myself because what we helped build represented hope. There was a constant sense of pride as I was rebuilding the tower from the ground up and that same feeling is here today as I graduate from Probationary Firefighter School because the buildings that I once helped build, I now get to protect.”
Probationary Firefighter Lisa Snyder is one of the four women Probationary Firefighters graduating today. Her husband is also an FDNY Firefighter. “The 18 weeks in the Academy taught me the importance of humility, respecting yourself and others, and teamwork. The camaraderie was my favorite part and I am excited to hone my craft in the field. My husband, Firefighter Skonieczny Snyder, told me it was the greatest job in the world, so I knew that I wanted to be a part of it.”
Over their 18 weeks at the FDNY Training Academy, this class was extensively trained in all aspects of their job as Firefighters: fire suppression and medical response, hazardous materials, collapse and confined space rescue training, auto extrication, building inspections and procedures for engine and ladder operations. These probationary firefighters will be assigned to firehouses throughout the city, where they will gain field experience under the guidance of senior firefighters and officers.
The Firefighters will be assigned to units throughout the city.