On this final day of Hispanic Heritage Month 2019, we caught up with FDNY Assistant Chief of EMS Alvin Suriel, the first Latino to be appointed to this rank in Department history. Learn why he loves his career choice, his new leadership role and more below.
Join FDNY: What made you decide to join the FDNY?
Chief Suriel: I loved being an EMT in the streets of Washington Heights and Harlem where I was born and raised. I began my EMS journey through an Emergency Medical Technician program at George Washington High School where I obtained my certification. This Department has offered me the opportunity for growth, and allowed for numerous challenges and promotional opportunities.
JF: What gives you the drive to come to work each day?
CS: I am surrounded by the greatest EMTs, Paramedics and Officers in the country and, that, in itself, gives me drive. In my current role, I’m surrounded by very supportive people and I feel that ‘we’ as a group have the opportunity to make positive changes now and for the future of this Department.
JF: What are some of the highlights of your Emergency Medical Service career?
CS: On March 16, 2017, I found myself four blocks away from EMT Yadira Arroyo’s tragic incident. This would go down as one of the most difficult incidents of my career. In June 2017, I also responded to and was in charge of EMS operations at the active shooter incident at Bronx Lebanon Hospital.
JF: What does representing your Hispanic heritage within the FDNY mean to you?
CS: It’s a tremendous feeling. My parents are immigrants from the Dominican Republic and every day I strive to set the tone and be a role model. I am the first Latino to be given this honor and it is something that I don’t take lightly. As second in command, I look forward to improving response times and making positive changes to improve the work environment for our EMTs, Paramedics and Officers.
JF: What words of wisdom would you share with someone who is looking to pursue a career with the FDNY?
CS: Whether you’re performing CPR, treating an asthmatic taking their last breath or fighting a fire, there is no greater feeling than being able to help someone in their time of need. The amount of training and support you will receive from the FDNY and the members who work here is like no other. What are you waiting for? Join now!
Get started today in learning about joining our EMS by visiting our careers section.