LEAD INSTRUCTORS

MARK GREGORY

Over 30 years of firefighting experience as a paid and volunteer firefighter. He is a Captain in the FDNY  assigned to Ladder 176 (The Tin House Truck) in Brooklyn. Previously, he served as a Captain in Tower Ladder 142 & Division 13, a Lieutenant in Tower Ladder 111 (The Nuthouse Truck) and a Firefighter in Rescue Company 2 and Ladder 132. Mark instructs and designs Powerpoints for the FDNY and Suffolk County Fire Academies and is a Team Leader / Instructor for the Counter Terrorism Task Force. He is an Instructor for FDIC and FDIC HOT, a contributing writer for Urban Firefighter, Fire Engineering, and WNYF Magazine. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University. Mark is an active member with the East Quogue Fire Department. He has risen through the ranks and served as Chief of Department for 3 years and Commissioner for 10 years.

JAMES F. SANDAS

A 30 year veteran with the FDNY. He was appointed to the Department in February of 1987. Jim has previously served in Engine Companies 212, 277 and Ladder Company 112 before transferring to Rescue Company 2 in 1996 where he is currently assigned. His fire service career began 42 years ago as a member of the Hempstead Volunteer FD where he served the ranks of Firefighter, Lieutenant, Captain, and Chief of the Department. He has served as the Assistant Chief of Training since 1983. Since 2005, Jim has served as a New York State Certified Clinical Lab Instructor, Nassau County Emergency Medical Services Academy.  He holds a B.A. degree in Fire and Emergency Management from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a NYS Pro-Board Certified Fire Service Instructor I and II and an Adjunct Instructor for FEMA.  Jim is also a Rescue Specialist and Technical Search Specialist member of FEMA NY Task Force 1 Urban Search & Rescue Team and the FDNY Special Operations Command Mutual Aid Response Team.

EMMET "PAT" NICHOLS

A 32 year veteran with the Boston, Massachusetts FD. He was appointed to the Department in 1986 and assigned to Engine 22 and then Ladder 10. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1991 and assigned to Ladder 26 "Huntington Ave Express" for the next 13 years before transferring to Rescue 2. In 2005, after being promoted to Captain he was assigned to Ladder 25 and then returned to Ladder 26 until 2008 when he transferred to Tower Ladder 10. He was  promoted to District Chief in May of 2013 and is currently assigned to District 9. Pat has been an instructor with the Massachusetts Fire Academy since 1991. He is the co-owner of PL Vulcan Training Concepts since 2006 and presents lectures and hands-on classes around the Country for various Fire Service organizations. He has presented at FDIC and is also a H.O.T. instructor for "Urban Essentials" at that conference. He is also a frequent writer for Urban Firefighter Magazine. Pat is a member of FEMA'S Urban Search and Rescue Team, MATF-1, were he is a Squad Officer. Pat began his Fire Service Career with the Naugatuck, CT Volunteer Rescue Squad in 1977, where he served until his appointment to the BFD.

ASSOCIATE INSTRUCTORS

RANDY S. MILLER

A 20 plus year veteran of the fire service, graduating from both the Suffolk County Fire Academy and the Florida State Fire College where he also earned his Florida State Smoke Diver Certification. He has served as a past Chief of the Hagerman Fire Rescue Department and also currently serves on the Board of Fire Commissioners. Randy retired as a 20-year veteran of the NYPD and had spent 13 years in the Emergency Service Unit (ESU), Randy was also Rescue Team Manager for NY-TF 1 National Urban Search and Rescue Task Force and has responded to events both in the United States and internationally. Randy also serves as a Deputy Chief Instructor with the Suffolk County Fire Academy and is a FEMA certified Structural Collapse, Heavy Rigging Instructor and serves as an alternate on the FEMA National Incident Suport Team as a US&R specialist. 

JOHN E. TEW

With over 20 years of firematic service, John has held all ranks in his volunteer fire department, is an Ex-Chief and a life member of the Hagerman Fire Department. Joining the FDNY in 1999, John was assigned to Engine’s 307 and 318 before going to Hook and Ladder 143. He currently is retired from FDNY Rescue Company 4, in Queens. Holding a NYS Fire Service Instructor I certificate he is a frequent instructor at the FDNY Special Operations, Technical Rescue School and is instrumental in the development and instruction of the FDNY's Rescue Medic Program.

KEVIN CANDIDO

Kevin has been a member of the FDNY since 2001. He began his career with Engine 235 (Eye of Bed-Stuy) and transferred to Ladder 111 (The Nuthouse) in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn until his promotion to Lieutenant. He is currently assigned to the 13th Division (Queens South). Kevin is an instructor for the FDNY'S Mobile Search / Mayday Training Program.  His firefighting experience goes back over 25 years when he joined the Hempstead Volunteer Fire Department in Long Island. Kevin has held the ranks of Lieutenant, Captain, Chief of Department and is currently an Assistant Chief Instructor of Fire Training. He is currently a member of the West Sayville Fire Department

TIMOTHY GLEASON

Started his career with the Immokalee Fire Control District in 1992. In 1999 Timmy was hired with the City Of Miami Fire Department. Timmy is assigned to Engine Company 6 in the City's busy Wynwood / Overtown area. They serve as the City Technical Rescue Team making Timmy a plank owner (original member) of the team. Timmy is frequently called upon to teach at the City Of Miami Probie School, an assignment usually reserved for the rank of Lieutenant and above. His main area of instruction being Engine Company Ops.Timmy is a Florida State Certified Instructor, and a State Of Florida Master Instructor in the area of Rope Rescue and Vehicle Machinery Rescue. He is also a Field Training Instructor for The City Of Miami and currently sits as the only Fireman on the Department's Safety Committee and is also the Vice Chairman of the Department's Apparatus and Firefighting Equipment Committee. In his spare time,Timmy serves as a member of FEMA's Florida Task Force Two as a member of the team's Command Staff as the Rescue Coordinator/ Lead Instructor.

RAY GRIFFIN

With Over 30 years in the fire service, Ray is a 20+ year member of the FDNY currently assigned to Rescue 4.  His previous assignment was with Ladder 45 in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan.  He is an instructor with the FDNY Special Operations Command Technical Rescue School and FDNY dive rescue instructor.  He has been a NYS & National Fire Service Instructor 1 since 2004 as well as a Deputy Chief Instructor at the Suffolk County Fire Academy.  He is a member of FEMA NYTF-1 USAR team.  He has held all ranks including Chief of Department and is currently a Commissioner with the Ronkonkoma Fire Department on Long Island, NY.

PAUL LAROCHELLE JR.

A 30 plus year veteran of the fire service. He has served as a volunteer, paid call and full time firefighter in a small EMS based F.D. and the City of Worcester  Fire Dept. Worcester, MA, which is the second largest city in New England. He has 25 years with the WFD. With 19 years assigned to the Heavy Rescue, Paul is currently a LT. assigned to Rescue 1, a Special Operations Company. Paul has an Associates Degree in Fire Science and is a certified instructor and Firefighter I and II as well as a Haz Mat Technician.  He is an instructor for the Massachusetts Fire Academy. He has taught at FDIC and Firehouse Expo.

RUSSEL (RUSS) KELLAR

A retired 29 year veteran with the Austin Fire Department where he served as a Lieutenant assigned to Engine 6. During his career, Russ has served on the HazMat Team, Dive Team, Swiftwater Team, Technical Rescue Team, and has served as a member of TX-TF1 for 17 years. Additionally, for the past 22 years Russell has taught Technical Rescue disciplines to both Fire Departments and Industrial Facilities around the country.

KEN DITATA

Has 45 years of firefighting experience, both paid and volunteer. He became a member of the East Meadow Fire Department on Long Island in 1972, of which he is a life member, and held the ranks of Lieutenant, Captain, and Chief of Department. In 1986 he was appointed to the FDNY, working in Hook and Ladder 143, Engine 214 and Ladder 111 from which he retired from in 2015. He has been a Deputy Chief Instructor at the Nassau County Fire Academy for 35 years and has worked on curriculum development and various projects for both the academy and the FDNY. He is a NYS Fire Instructor 1 and currently a member of the Syosset Fire Department in Nassau County, NY.

CHRISTOPHER G. EYSSER

Chris has been a member of the fire service since 1991. He is currently a Battalion Chief in the FDNY. Previous assignments include Captain of Ladder Co. 120 (Watkins Street), Lieutenant in Ladder Co. 124 (Tonka Truck), and Firefighter in Ladder Co. 111 (The Nuthouse). He serves as an adjunct instructor for the FDNY fire academy. He also serves as an Instructor at the Nassau County Fire Service Academy on Long Island NY. He is a member of the Syosset Fire Department Ladder Co. 2 in Nassau County, NY and is a member of NFPA Committee 1971 & 1851.

PAUL TRAHON

A 32-year veteran with the Brookline, Massachusetts FD. He was appointed to the Department in 1984 and assigned to Engine 2. His technical skills were realized and he was transferred to Ladder 2, a SOC Tech Rescue Company. After being promoted to Lieutenant he was assigned to the Training Division as the Department's EMS/Designated Infectious Control Officer (DICO) and a recruit class instructor for the Brookline Fire Academy. He is a Certified Massachusetts Fire Academy Instructor 2, Structural Collapse Technician. He is a member of the Metro-Boston Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI-USAR) Team. He is currently a Lieutenant on Ladder 2 in Brookline Village and frequently returns to teach at the Brookline Fire Academy. He works for a general contractor in his off time. 

MICHAEL MEYER

A been a member of the FDNY since 2004 and is assigned to Rescue Company 2. Previously, he was assigned to Tower Ladder 120 (Watkins Street) in the Brownsville Section of Brooklyn. He is also an instuctor at the FDNY's Training Academy. He is an active member of the Lakeland Volunteer Fire Department for the past 18 years and held the ranks of Firefighter, Lieutenant and Captain of Engine Co. 5, Station One. In addition he is also a Deputy Chief Instructor with the Suffolk County Fire Academy. He holds an Associates degree in Fire Science from the Suffolk County Community College, and a NYS & National Fire Instructor 1 certification.

MICHAEL MERCURIO

Michael has 35 years in the fire service starting in a volunteer Engine Company in 1982, and FDNY firefighter in 1997. He was assigned to Engine 264 and Tower Ladder 44 as a firefighter, then promoted to Lieutenant and currently assigned to Engine Company 308. He holds NYS Fire Service Instructor 1 certificate and is also a member of the FDNY’s Center for Terrorism and Disaster Preparedness since 2009, and a member of the FDNY IMT since 2016. He currently is an active member of West Islip FD volunteer truck company serving as training officer since 2005 and Fire Commissioner since 2012.

GLENN BULLOCK

Glenn started in the FDNY in 1995 and was assigned to Engine Company 236 in East New York Brooklyn. He transferred to Rescue Company 1 in 2000 and retired in 2013. Glenn has also been a volunteer with the East Quogue Fire Department on Long Island since 1986. He is also NYS Fire Instructor I and a Deputy Chief Instructor at the Suffolk County Fire Academy.

THOMAS GIES

Tom is a 14 year member of the FDNY and is assigned to Hook and Ladder Company 147 in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. Tom started his fire service career 18 years ago as a Volunteer with the Merrick Fire Department on Long Island where he rose to the rank of current Chief of Department. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Fire Service Administration from John Jay College and has been a certifed New York State Paramedic for over 12 years.

PAUL HIGGINS

Paul has 24 years of experience in the fire service with both volunteer and career departments. He is currently an Assistant Chief with the Fairfield (CT) Fire Department where his functional assignment has him responsible for Special Operations-Rescue. He previously served with the City of Bridgeport (CT) Fire Department and the Stratfield Vol. Fire Dept. He’s an original member of Connecticut’s US&R team where he’s been a Rescue Specialist and Rescue Squad Officer. He is certified to Fire Instructor III and, in addition to teaching for PL Vulcan, teaches for the Fairfield Regional Fire School. He holds an Associates Degree in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University. 

JIMMY ADAMS

Jimmy has 27 years in the fire service. His career started in 1990 as a volunteer and then a career firefighter for the Hebron Fire Protection District KY. He served as the department training officer as well as a company officer as Lieutenant and Captain. In 2004 he took a position with the Burlington Fire Protection District KY. As a firefighter paramedic he rode both the engine and ladder company. Since 2008 he has been with the Covington, KY Fire Department. Assignments have included Engine 1, Engine 2, Truck 7 and currently assigned to Rescue 1. He is a Certified Career Firefighter in the State of Kentucky and a Fire Instructor Level 1 in Kentucky. He has completed the Cincinnati Fire Department Rescue Tech Program and is a current member of the Northern Kentucky Technical Rescue Team.

GEORGE KRANT

George has 28 years in the fire service where he rose through the ranks to Chief of Department of the Wantagh Fire Department on Long Island, NY and is currently a Commissioner. George recently retired with 24 years from the NYPD with 16 years with the Departments Emergency Service Unit (ESU). George was assigned to ESS Squad 7 in East New York, Brooklyn and was an Instructor with the NYPD ESU specialized training school. He also served as a Rescue Specialist for the last 12 years on FEMA NYTF-1 USAR.

CHRIS BLACK

Chris is a 29-year veteran of the Fire Service who possesses a Bachelor of Science degree in Fire and Safety Engineering from Eastern KY University. He recently retired as Assistant Chief of Operations for the City of Covington KY Fire Department. Chris started his fire service career as a volunteer with the Petersburg KY Fire Protection District at age 16 where he stills serves as a Battalion Chief. In retirement Chris teaches Fire Science at Gateway Community College, serves as an Adjunct Instructor for the KY Fire Commission and works as an associate instructor for P.L. Vulcan Fire Training Concepts. Chris also serves as a Rescue Specialist with the FEMA OHTF 1 USAR Team.

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