P aramedic Bruce Funaro has been with the FDNY for 22 years. He served as an EMT for four years and was later promoted to his current rank through our Medic Basic Program. He is now a Regional Faculty Intern at our EMS Academy where he oversees programs that he was once a part of and we recently sat down with him for a quick interview to learn more about his rewarding career.
Join FDNY: What is your current position in the Bureau of Training?
Bruce Funaro: As a certified Instructor Coordinator, I’m in charge of the program that we are assigned to Medic Basic Program. I schedule the lectures, the skills and cover all of the New York State paperwork. We ensure the program is running like a well-oiled machine.
JF: What inspired you to join the FDNY?
BF: I always knew I wanted to do something in medicine. My father was a doctor and I saw the way he helped people and I wanted to do the same. I volunteered for my local community ambulance and as I was volunteering, I applied to the FDNY. I knew that being an EMT for the greatest EMS system in the world is where I could make the most difference. The medical field rubbed off on my daughter also and she’s now studying to be a neurosurgeon.
JF: What drives you to teach at our EMS Academy daily?
BF: Every morning when I wake up, I’m proud to put on the FDNY uniform and go to the best training facility in the country to teach. I work alongside the best EMT and Paramedic instructors ever established. I want to instill the passion that I have for this profession in the EMTs and Paramedics who enter our academy. Each one of them has the opportunity to save somebody’s life, and when that moment happens, I can say that I took part in making them the best first responders.
JF: Who have been your strongest supporters?
BF: After I finished my Certified Laboratory Instructor internship, I was assigned to the late Ronnie Schaal, who was a great instructor. He guided me and mentored me through my time here. I think he was one of the best instructors. I emulate his teaching style and I picked up the way he was compassionate to his students and his understanding that you are not just a teacher here. You’re a mentor too.
JF: What pointers would you give to someone who is looking to join our Department?
BF: I love this job and this is the greatest job I’ve ever had. When I’m in the field and I’m able to help that person and bring that person back to life, it’s a very humbling experience. When you’re teaching, you’re giving knowledge to a new person who could potentially use the information you give to help the next person. It’s like a legacy. We are helping people and building legacies.
JF: What should ‘Probys’ expect when they come to train at the Academy?
BF: I tell them from day one, I’m giving you a hundred and ten percent of my time and all I ask is that you give me a hundred percent. All of our ‘Probys’ should come here eager to learn and come here with an open mind. Every single instructor here will give them a hundred and ten percent because we want them to succeed.