Marina Timmins

1. What is your name, title and number of years at FDNY? Where are you currently assigned, and what are your work-related responsibilities?

My name is Marina Timmons. I am a fire alarm dispatcher for the borough of Manhattan, and we handle all of the 911 and dispatch calls for the fire companies. I have been with the Department for 4 years.

2. What called you to a life of public service at FDNY?

I grew up in a small town and always liked helping people. I decided to volunteer in the firehouse by our house. I met a lot of people who worked at FDNY. I got to see the elite and prestigious institution that FDNY is. They encouraged us to take the test and join the force, so when I had the opportunity, I went for it.

3. Can you share one of your most memorable moments while working at FDNY?

One memory that always sticks in my head is from when I just finished training. I was assigned to Manhattan; it was just a regular normal night tour, when all of a sudden the majority of the borough lost power. Our entire system crashed and we had to manage everything manually. What I remember is the intensity of the moment where we began to be flooded with calls. It felt overwhelming, but all of the boroughs stepped in—everyone had each other’s backs. I think the most important thing about FDNY is that when something happens, everyone steps in. And that’s beautiful.

4. What does “We Are FDNY” mean to you?

To me, “We are FDNY” reminds me that we’re all one big family: We work long tours; most days, you see your coworkers more than your family. This, along with the fact that our work is often intense, makes it feel like your coworkers are your second family.

5. What is your superpower (best quality or skill)?

In dispatch, you not only have to listen to what the caller is saying, but you have to listen to what’s going on during the call, and that’s with everything happening in the background and our radios. Being able to multitask, and listen critically, is my superpower.

6. How does your role support the public safety mission of the FDNY?

My role is the first line of defense. When an emergency call comes in, we are the first point of contact, and all of the information we get from a person shapes how the whole operation is handled. The information we get from the caller is related to our units: It could be anything from a water leak, a fire or a major, large-scale emergency. And, that’s how we support our mission of public safety.

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