“Are you on the job, or are you into the job?” was a question that the late Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo, FDNY, and renowned instructor often asked his students. He knew that no matter what type of department they came from and how many years of service, that being a great firefighter takes initiative, passion, and constant growth. On May 29 – 30, 2015, nearly 150 firefighters answered Joey’s challenge, proving that they too were into “into the job” during the 2015 Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation Seminar in Long Island, New York.
Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo, also known as “Joey D,” of the FDNY and Setauket Fire Department, died in 2011 from injuries that he sustained in a 2005 fire, known as “Black Sunday.” On this tragic day in FDNY history, the Bronx fire claimed the lives of two firefighters and forever changed the lives of the surviving firefighters and their families. Firefighter Jeff Cool’s personal life safety rope helped he and Joey to escape, as they were forced to jump from a 4-story apartment building with fire ranging behind them.
“It really is a heartwarming event for Joe DiBernardo and me. The respect for Joey is so evident, and the support for what we are doing to continue his legacy is overwhelming,” says Joey’s mother, Barbara.
This year’s event began with a meet and greet with instructors, firefighters, and FDNY legends of the BBC documentary Man Alive: The Bronx Is Burning. Students had the unique opportunity to talk with instructors and seasoned vets one-on-one outside the traditional classroom. The following morning, a full day of classroom training included Street Smart Tactical Truck Tips and Tricks with FDNY Lt. Michael Ciampo; University of Extrication: Hybrid Vehicles with Division Chief Ron Moore, McKinney Fire Department (ret.); Counter Terrorism Planning with FDNY Battalion Chief John Nykiel, and FDNY/NIST Live Burn Flow Path Study with Fire Protection Engineer Dan Madrzykowski and FDNY Captain John Ceriello.
Now in its third year, the annual seminar program has trained over 500 firefighters and continues to keep firefighters safe long after the training is over. Funds raised support the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation grant program. This grant program has awarded over $40,000 for training and personal life safety rope systems to departments that would not otherwise be able to afford them. The Foundation expects to announce additional grants in 2015, bringing the total to almost $100,000. “We are grateful for the generous support of our sponsors, donors, and all who attend and teach at the seminars. They play an important role in honoring Joey’s memory and in keeping firefighters across North America safe,” says Chief Joe DiBernardo, Joey’s father and Foundation President.
With the conclusion of another successful seminar, the Foundation will continue its mission of training firefighters and helping departments provide life-saving equipment to their members. Preparations are already underway for the 2016 Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation Seminar. For more information about the 2016 Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Seminar or to learn other ways that you can help visit: www.joeydfoundation.org.