FDNY EMS Week 2014: Why I Joined the Department
Paramedic Gary Simmonds, Lt. Kevin Ramdayal and Paramedic Syndie Molina
As the EMS Week 2014 comes to a close, three FDNY EMS members talk about why they chose to join the Department’s Bureau of EMS.
Lt. Kevin Ramdayal
Lt. Kevin Ramdayal, from Station 26 in the Bronx, is proud to say he works for the FDNY’s Bureau of EMS because, “it’s the busiest and best in the world. There’s a great deal of pride in this job.”
He grew up in Jamaica, Queens, as a first-generation American. When he was 18, he said he was living on his own and wanted to find a job – and career.
He saw many paramedics and EMTs at a nearby hospital and thought the work looked interesting, so he took EMT training and worked for a private ambulance company for just under a year before joining the FDNY in 2005.
“I love it, there’s always something new,” he said. “You could always see something different every day.”
He said he likes the challenge of learning new things, which is why he took paramedic training and worked to be promoted to lieutenant. Now he teaches EMS classes at local schools to give back.
“I always tell people, I didn’t have a lot of opportunities growing up,” he said. “So if I can make it, you can too. You have to put the work in for it. It’s a hard job but we do it because we love it.”
Learn more about how Lt. Ramdayal’s team won first place honors at the EMS Competition on May 22.
Paramedic Gary Simmonds
Paramedic Gary Simmonds, Division 3, always knew he wanted a career in medicine, but needed to find his niche.
Then, one day, he was walking down the street and saw an ambulance. He talked to the paramedics to learn more about their work and the training they received. At that moment, he decided to join the Emergency Medical Service.
“Sometimes you know you’re made for something and you’ll enjoy something,” he said.
His mother, a nurse at Roosevelt Hospital, got him an application for EMT classes. And just three weeks later, Paramedic Simmonds was taking classes at night – while he worked at JC Penny Headquarters – until he got his certification.
In 1987, he joined New York City’s Emergency Medical Service, and received extra training to become a paramedic in 1989.
“I don’t know that most people know how much training we have, the interventions we have,” he said, adding that he loves his career. “This job has such a hold on you. When people move on to become doctors, nurses, or even retire, they never leave this job behind. It gets you and it’s difficult to shake.”
Paramedic Syndie Molina
When Paramedic Syndie Molina was planning to go to medical school in 2007, she decided to become an EMT.
“I thought it would be good for me to be in the field for a while first,” she said. “It was supposed to be a temporary job … but it turned into a permanent one.”
She still went back to school and got her PhD in public health, but she chose to keep her job as an FDNY paramedic at Station 4 in Manhattan because she loves the dividends.
“Being able to be there when someone needs the help, it’s an adrenaline rush,” Paramedic Molina said. “You’re the first one on the scene. You want to save everybody.”
She said she is making good use of her degree, opening her own fitness studio, but said she loves working for the Department, saying: “You’re helping someone and making a difference, I just fell in love with it.”
Learn more about some of Paramedic Molina’s great work.