Lieutenant Paul Ardizzone
Lieutenant Paul A. Ardizzone was awarded the Tracy Allen-Lee Medal at the 2019 FDNY Medal Ceremony and Christopher J. Prescott Medal at the 2022 FDNY Medal Ceremony.
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 Lieutenant Paul Ardizzone. I work in the Haz-Tac battalion, and I’ve been at FDNY for 11 years.
My primary responsibility is to provide direct field supervision to the members of the 39 Haz-Tac ambulances throughout New York City, both Advanced Life Support (ALS) and Basic Life Support (BLS). Eleven of those ambulances are rescue medic ambulances who, in addition to being trained in medical management of patients at a hazardous materials incident, are also extensively trained in medical management of patients in a technical rescue incident, such as building collapses, [working in] confined spaces, trench rescues and marine incidents. I’ve been trained as both a hazardous material and rescue medical technician. We have the same training as our members in the field. Lastly, I’m also an EMS liaison to the Marine Division, coordinating and maintaining all the EMS equipment and supplies on the state-certified water ambulances for the Department.
2. What called you to a life of public service at FDNY?
I knew I wanted to work in public service my whole life—It’s the only thing I ever want to do. I never imagined having a “regular job.” I knew I was either going to be a police officer, a firefighter or a medic of some sort. According to my mother, the first word I learned to spell was “police.” She said I was either going to be a police officer or a criminal; funny how I didn’t become either. I even watched shows like “Emergency” and “CHIPs” growing up, and I got my first police/fire scanner when I was 10 years old.
Either way, the reason why I am here today is because my mother went into cardiac arrest when I was six. She was resuscitated in the back of an ambulance, making a full recovery after spending four weeks at Montefiore Hospital. She had a quadruple bypass and lived another 20 years. This experience inspired me to be part of the FDNY family.
3. Can you share one of your most memorable moments while working at FDNY?
One of my most memorable moments on the job was when a 36-year-old NYPD police officer, training for an upcoming triathlon, collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. Police officers with him on the scene started CPR right away and then defibrillated him twice. My partner and I arrived, shocked him two more times and then followed up with intubation. By the time we got to the hospital, he was waking and eventually was cleared for a full discharge. He had four young kids, lived on Long Island and had been a police officer for over 10 years. I had the chance to meet him, his family, and his parents at an event later—definitely one of my most memorable moments on the job.
4. What does “We Are FDNY” mean to you?
“We Are FDNY” should really be called “We Are New York City.” I believe our organization is a representation of the people we serve in all the neighborhoods. Sure, we need to grow and become more representative in certain places, for sure. But I think we do a good job of being who we are and representing people from all walks of life, from all around the world. “We Are FDNY” reminds me of all that I have learned, and the promise that I will learn more, through having the opportunity to work with people from different backgrounds and lifestyles, and this is one of the most rewarding parts of the job.
5. What is your superpower (best quality or skill)?
My superpower is definitely my ability to adapt to whatever situation I find myself in, both job-related and personal. I’m just as comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt as I am in a tuxedo. Similarly, I’m just as comfortable hanging with my buddies as I would be standing next to the Fire Commissioner. I’m generally not one to get nervous, and I can adapt as needed.
6. How does your role support the public safety mission of the FDNY?
My role requires me to rise to the occasion and help folks in a variety of situations around the City. I have to be adaptable because the situations vary: I could arrive at a house in flames, be greeted by someone trapped or find myself simply giving someone directions. One of the primary functions of my department is to ensure that everyone gets home safely—not just from a fire or [other serious] incident, but also from work at the end of the day. As a lieutenant and an officer, I make sure that my members in the field are doing the right things, treating the public well, doing the right job and making sure that they are taken care of, too.