Training to Remember

Second Annual Memorial Seminar Remembers a Hero, Helps Firefighters Stay Safe

Brotherhood. Training. Safety. Firefighters from across the country met in Long Island on May 16 – 17, 2014 in memory of Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo and to hone their firefighting skills.

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 sad day in FDNY history, the fire claimed the lives of two firefighters and forever changed the lives of the surviving firefighters and 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.

A Foundation, established in Joey’s memory , aims to keep firefighters safe by providing training and grants to departments for personal life safety rope systems. Now in its second year, the annual seminar has trained over 400 firefighters and helped to provide personal life safety rope systems to a department that would not otherwise be able to afford them.

The weekend seminar kicked off with a meet and greet, where firefighters had the rare opportunity to have a one-on-one discussion with fire service leaders in a casual setting. They also had an opportunity to hear a little bit more about Joey and his passion for learning, teaching, and always striving to be a better firefighter.

On Saturday, the firefighters attended full day of training that began with an intro from Firefighter Jeff Cool, who challenged each student with a quote from Joey ¬- “Are you on the job, or into the job?” Participants had already shown that they were “into the job” by registering and attending this special day of training.

Chief Rick Lasky inspired firefighters to make their departments the best they could be, by understanding where the fire service began and fundamentals in how to instill Pride and Ownership in the department. He made firefighters laugh and touched their hearts with stories and common sense tactics to grow and keep members connected to their department and its mission. Firefighter & Officer Survival: Simple Fires with Complicated Results by Chief Billy Goldfeder challenged firefighters to learn from previous incidents to improve their size-up and decision making on the fireground. He reminded participants that have choices that not only keep them safe, but that honor those that came before; it’s their choice to properly size up the scene, to listen to their officers, to follow their SOPs/SOGs, and to train like their life depends on it that will make them a better firefighter or officer.

Later in the afternoon, 2nd Assistant Chief Wayne Melton of the Mt. Hope Fire Company, was presented with a check for over $13,000 to purchase 14 life safety rope systems and related training for their department. This is the first grant that the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation has awarded since beginning their efforts to keep firefighters safe just two years ago.

Training continued with Battalion Chief Frank Montagna, who presented an in depth view of utility emergencies and ways to handle them safely. He presented several different scenarios involving natural gas and electrical power lines. The seminar concluded with Lieutenant Mark Gregory’s presentation on Machinery Extrication. Students were presented a variety of specialized rescue topics and discussed the different tools, techniques, and options available to them to solve each type of problem.

With another successful training concluded and the beginning of a safety equipment grant program for fire departments, the Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Foundation hopes to preserve Joey’s Legacy by keeping firefighters well-trained, well-equipped, and promoting fellowship within the fire service.

In 2015, the 3rd Annual Lt. Joseph P. DiBernardo Memorial Seminar will be held on May 29 – 30, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency Long Island in Hauppauge, NY. More information about the next seminar or to show your support visit our website at: