The FDNY has appointed their first Black chief to lead New York City’s emergency medical services, reports The Daily News.

On Friday, FDNY officials confirmed that Deputy Assistant Chief of EMS Operations Michael Fields is now set to replace retiring Chief Lillian Bonsignore, the first woman and openly gay EMS leader, on Jan. 1.

“I feel great about the opportunity to serve New York City in this way,” Fields said.

“And coming in after Chief Bonsignore, those will be some incredibly big shoes to fill.”

Fields joined EMS just two years before its merger with the FDNY in 1996. He started his career in communications before becoming a medic in the very community where he was raised, Bedford Stuyvesant. Fields’ career then took him to the Bronx and to FDNY headquarters, where he aided in recruiting new members.

“Seeing people you grew up with in bad situations and being able to assist them, that’s something I find a great deal of pleasure in,” Fields said.

“I like to give back to the community.”

As 2023 approaches Fields’ goals as the city’s first Black EMS chief will be focused on improving response times, FDNY diversity, and most importantly improving the physical safety of first responders. Fields’ sharp focus on protecting first responders emerged quickly after the death of EMS Lt. Alison Russo in September. Russo was fatally stabbed while on duty outside her EMS station in Astoria, Queens. She was the second member of FDNY EMS killed in the line of duty in five years.

“I believe in the boots on the ground,” continued Fields.

“Before I make a decision from the top, I’m going to want to see how it will impact my co-workers on the bottom, because they’re the ones that will have to carry it out.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.