When residents of the Setauket Fire District vote on Tuesday, Dec. 13, for fire commissioner, they will find one candidate on the ballot for a five-year term.
Current fire commissioner Anthony Todaro is running unchallenged to retain his seat on the board, and he said first and foremost on his mind is recruiting and retaining more volunteers.
He joined the department in 1999 and became certified as a firefighter and EMT. Since then he has been a lieutenant, captain, assistant chief, chief of department and has served on the board of directors. After leaving the chief’s office in 2014, he has been the department safety officer.
The 43-year-old has lived in Setauket for more than 30 years. He is married to a lifelong Setauket resident and is the father of two boys, 9 and 3.
Todaro started his career as a first responder at Stony Brook University Hospital where he was an emergency medical technician with the hospital’s EMS team. He later transferred to the university’s Environmental Health and Safety as a campus fire marshal.
For the past 13 years, he has been the senior fire marshal with the Town of Brookhaven’s Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Prevention.
Todaro answered a few questions in an email about why he chose to run for another term.
Why did you decide to run for commissioner again?
I was elected fire commissioner five years ago and as a board we have accomplished a lot in that time frame. We have seen the opening of our new Main Street firehouse; we have upgraded our communications infrastructure and purchased new radio equipment; computers for the apparatus (MDTs); and we have purchased new fire apparatus and ambulances and currently have a new ladder truck on order. We have upgraded equipment such as battery-operated extrication equipment and self-contained breathing apparatus (air packs) and personal protective equipment for the firefighters and EMTs. As a board we have provided our responders with the best possible gear, equipment, vehicles and facilities while staying under the tax cap and keeping an eye on spending.
I am running for reelection because I feel there is more work to be done and that I can contribute to helping the department and my community. I currently enjoy working with my fellow fire commissioners and feel that we work well together as a board.
Is there an issue within the district that you would like to tackle?
One of the issues that we need to address as a board is recruiting and retaining more volunteers. Our community is blessed with dedicated and skilled volunteers who respond to calls at all hours of the day. These volunteers give so much of their time to serve their community while balancing their own careers and family obligations, but it is becoming more difficult. Volunteering is down nationally, and call volume continues to rise. Additional training requirements have increased over the years that add to the time volunteers have to devote to the department including new hazards faced in modern building construction, new technologies such as lithium-ion batteries and stored energy facilities and how to respond to these incidents, newer vehicle designs that require special knowledge during motor vehicle accidents and of course COVID just to name a few.
How would you go about it?
A few years ago, we added part-time career firefighters in addition to our career EMTs and paramedics. This was not done to replace the volunteers but to shoulder some of the burden and help during the daytime when typically most members are working, and response was limited. The chief’s office is working hard to get the most out of the membership and it’s the board of fire commissioners responsibility to assist the chief’s office and provide them with the tools needed to accomplish their mission.
Todaro added that anyone interested in joining the Setauket Fire Department can visit www.setauketfd.com for more information. “I did almost 24 years ago, and it’s been an amazing experience,” he said.
Setauket FD election day
Residents of the Setauket Fire District duly registered with the Suffolk County Board of Elections as of Nov. 21 are eligible to vote in the Tuesday, Dec. 13, election. Voters can cast their ballots between 2 and 9 p.m. at the firehouse located at 394 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook.
The five-year fire commissioner term commences on Jan. 1, 2023, and ends on Dec. 31, 2027.
Stony Brook FD fire commissioner race
Like the Setauket Fire Commissioner race, Stony Brook Fire District has one candidate for one position. Current fire commissioner Brian McAllister will look to retain his seat for a five-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2023, and terminating on Dec. 31, 2027.
Voters in the Stony Brook Fire District who have registered with the Suffolk County Board of Elections on or before Nov. 21 are eligible to vote.
Voting will take place Tuesday, Dec. 13, between 2 and 9 p.m. at Station 2, located at 1410 Stony Brook Road, Stony Brook.
TBR News Media was unable to reach McAllister before our deadline. We invite him and other fire commissioners to contact us in the future. We are always open to profiles on local fire commissioners to introduce them to the community and to educate our readers on the latest happenings in our fire departments and districts.