PSAC 1, Bureau of Communications

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

My name is Tara Todd. I’m an EMT, and I’ve been with the Department for 14 years. My work spans citywide to handle most mass casualty incidents (MCIs), which include fires, structural collapses, train derailments—anything that could be catastrophic. We interact with MTA, Port Authority, Penn Station, LaGuardia, JFK, Amtrak and different agencies. This spans a range of calls that are coming our way.

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

I always loved medicine throughout my young adulthood; I’d thought about branching into different aspects. I was thinking of being a nurse, I thought of being a PA—but then when I became an EMT, when I first started riding on the ambulance and going on different calls, I fell in love with it. The best way I could describe it, it’s almost like going to see a Broadway show: Either you love it, or you hate it. I love it.

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

My first Thanksgiving, I was on the street. I was still an intern, had a cardiac arrest, and we brought the gentleman to the hospital. I remember riding with his wife because my partner was in the truck with the medics, doing CPR. I was driving the patient’s wife to the hospital. We were talking, and she was very distraught.

I can’t remember the exact month, but sometime the following year, in the spring, my partner and I—along with everybody else who responded to the call—were able to meet the gentleman we brought back. We met him and his family. It was really nice and very memorable.

4. What does We Are FDNY mean to you?

I think of first responders, whether it be Fire or EMS. I think of everybody working together as lieutenants, medics, captains, chiefs and everybody. Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what position you are in—EMS or Fire, even if it’s administrative—everybody works together. We all hold a vital component to, as one would say, the whole nutshell.

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

I can stay calm during a very stressful situation, whether it be at work or in my personal life. I keep my sense of humor. I’ve noticed over the years a lot of people, whether they’re just starting out or they’ve been here for 20-plus years, it takes a toll. There is stress, and sometimes people get burned out. I like to think that at the end of the day, when push comes to shove, I can keep my sense of calm. And I hope that resonates amongst my coworkers as we’re all dealing with stressful situations and brightens the environment.

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

We take emergency calls and tell units where to go, whether I’m dispatching or I sit in a citywide call. We all have to work together as a team and guide units where to go. I try to give them as much information as I can about a call. But the units out there—whether it’s EMTs, firefighters, bosses, chiefs—I think that they’re one of the most pivotal members of FDNY, because without people on ambulances and on the street, there wouldn’t be anything for me to do up here.

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