Fire EMS, Firefighting, Leadership

FASNY Convention Closes with Firefighter and EMS Provider of the Year Awards

During the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) closing ceremony for its 141st Annual Convention today, President James Burns presided over an awards ceremony honoring two first responders for their extraordinary acts of heroism. Ex-Chief John Curley of Bellmore Fire Department on Long Island, and AEMT Karen Haab of Springs Fire Department, also on Long Island, received medals of valor today.  This is the first time that the Firefighter of the Year and EMS Provider of the Year awards were presented to two Long Islanders in the same year.

The ceremony capped off FASNY’s Annual Convention, in which more than 1,000 volunteer firefighters attended various training and educational events throughout the week in the Albany area.  In addition, the convention played host to “Youth Day,” where approximately 100 fire department explorers and juniors from across the state participated in hands-on firefighter evolutions and exercises including Roof Ventilation, 2nd Floor Window Bailout, Engine Company Operations, Fire Extinguisher Operations, Timed Scoring, Search and Rescue Drills and Survival Skills.

“There is no better way to end a great convention week than by honoring two of our members for their extraordinary efforts to save lives,” said FASNY President James Burns.  “First responders risk their lives each and every day to help our fellow neighbors in their most dire times of need.  This week we all came together to share best practices, participate in training seminars and focus on our efforts to recruit more firefighters throughout the state. It was a resounding success and we are already getting ready for next year.”

The 142nd Annual FASNY Convention will be taking place at the Desmond Hotel in Albany. More details to come.

FASNY is in the midst of a multi-year, year-round, volunteer firefighter recruitment and retention program across New York State made possible by a $4.2 million United States Department of Homeland Security Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant that began in 2011. To learn more about the “Fire In You” recruitment campaign, visit

For more information on the 141st FASNY Convention, including events, seminars and training demonstrations that took place please visit:


2013 FASNY Firefighter of the Year
John Curley
Ex-Chief – Bellmore Fire Department

On the morning of Nov. 12, 2012, at 7:39 a.m., the Bellmore Fire Department was alerted to respond to a “house fire with occupant trapped.” Driving a fire department pickup truck on his way to pick up a new boiler to replace a damaged one at the Superstorm Sandy-destroyed Station 2, Ex-Chief John Curley and his son John Jr. found themselves in the vicinity of the house fire and responded in the fire department pickup.

Once on scene, Curley immediately transmitted the working fire and parked his vehicle at a safe distance, so as not to impede the access of responding fire apparatus.

He immediately made contact with one of the occupants, who said his 92-year-old mother was still trapped in the burning house. The occupant pointed to what now was one of only two windows in the house without fire raging from it.

Curley noticed a neighbor and the other occupant of the house had started dragging a file cabinet under the bedroom window of the trapped occupant. Without protective equipment  or the protection of a hose line – knowing that a hose line would still be minutes away – Curley sprang into action.

He immediately scaled the five-foot-tall cabinet and had his son and Chief Dan Holl (now on scene) pass him a wood ladder that was lying in the driveway of the burning structure.

Curley precariously placed the ladder on top of the cabinet and began scaling the ladder to the window. Without tools he broke the window with his bare hands and peered through the smoke pushing from the window to try and locate the trapped occupant. Through the smoke, he was able to locate the foot of the now-unconscious 92-year-old woman.

He entered the room through choking smoke and heat and was able to bring the occupant to the window, over the sill and pass her down to the now waiting rescuers and civilians.

Once the occupant was on the driveway, unconscious and unresponsive, medics immediately began to tend to her and transport her to the hospital. Curley exited the window and no more than a minute later, the entire room was engulfed in flames.

Three hose lines and a tower ladder were used to control and extinguish this fast-moving fire. Curley suffered minor lacerations on his hands and his cheek and was transported to the hospital.

2013 EMS Provider of the Year
Karen L. Haab
AEMT – Springs Volunteer Fire Department

Karen L. Haab has been a member of the Springs Volunteer Fire Department for 12 years and an AEMT for 11 of those years. In that time, she has served and still serves on different committees and for the last several years has been either in the position of either first or second lieutenant of the ambulance.

While trying to have an enjoyable time at the beach with friends and family, Haab was unexpectedly called to duty Aug. 4, 2012. The sand castles were being built by families and by artists creating beautiful sculptures for a contest. Haab was about 20 feet from waters’ edge watching this when she noticed an elderly gentleman was being removed from the water. In a matter of seconds, as she puts it, she went into her AEMT mode.

She stabilized his head, trying to find out his name and what injury he sustained in the water. He mumbled a few words and suddenly his face turned blue and saliva began to fill his mouth. She then checked for chest rise and could not see any movement.

A former EMT was standing over her, so she asked him to take over the stabilization of his head, which he did and she went to his side and checked his carotid artery for a pulse and was unable to feel one. Meanwhile, a lifeguard quickly ran for an AED, cervical collar and backboard.  Haab began doing CPR, the victim was dried off and the AED pads were placed on him.

CPR was then continued as he was collared and back-boarded. A quad vehicle was brought to the location by another lifeguard. The victim was then placed in the back with the former EMT maintaining stabilization and CPR being performed by Haab.

They stopped to re-analyze the victim. Shock was advised and given. A pulse check was done, but no pulse was felt and so CPR was continued. It should be noted that all through this time there were no airway adjuncts or bag valve masks available.

They reached the parking lot and were met by the Amagansett Volunteer Fire Department and before they placed him on the ambulance stretcher. Eventually his pulse came back and along with this his color started to improve and was now breathing on his own.