EMT Peter Fiore demonstrates the LUCAS chest compression device to save the lives of sudden-cardiac-arrest patients. With him in the video are EMTs Josh Meszaros, a volunteer EMT who attends Bridgeport Military Academy, and Chris Barlow, a Sacred Heart University live-in crew member.
Getting paid to do what he loves is a dream come true for Peter Fiore, who joined the Easton Volunteer Emergency Medical Service in December as a paid emergency medical technician.
Fiore, 58, brings 28 years of volunteer EMT experience to what he calls his “retirement job.” He also brings 39 years in the corporate world and a wealth of knowledge about information technology and data management.
“I’m ecstatic they chose me,” he said. “I’m happier than I thought I ever could be, doing something I did as a hobby for a good part of my adult life and now actually getting paid for something I enjoy doing.”
Fiore joined the Easton service as one of two paid, full-time EMTs. The service also has two part-time, live-in EMTS from Sacred Heart University, several part-time per diem members, and 30 or so active volunteers.
Jonathan Arnold, assistant chief, praised the service’s new hire, who he said has “many great qualities.”
“Peter was the best candidate after a lengthy statewide search and interview process,” Arnold said. “He works great with all our paid staff, volunteers and live-in members. He is extremely well versed in data entry, particularly with Excel and producing statistical information such as call reports, volunteer hours, vehicle maintenance tracking, and inventory control.
“Peter also treats all his patients as though they are family. All around he is just a great guy, and we are glad to have him,” Arnold said.
Fiore likened his daily responsibilities at EMS headquarters on Sport Hill Road to taking care of his own home.
“The day starts off with checking the ambulances, doing a full inventory of supplies and equipment, and making sure everything is where it belongs,” he said. “Every Monday I switch the backup batteries for the AEDs, check the expiration dates for drugs on board and complete a whole checklist.”
In addition to data entry and a daily checklist, he does mundane chores like washing the floor and taking out the trash. If he needs to be done, he willingly does it. And he makes sure the ambulances are always clean and polished when they pull up at someone’s house or the scene of an accident, he said.
He takes data from a variety of sources and generates charts and statistics, and he has automated the purchase order system, tracking of volunteer hours and one-stop shopping accountability in Excel. He coordinates bill paying, supplies, and medications, and created a separate spreadsheet that alerts him if something is set to expire.
“I know about it one month before it’s set to expire,” he said. “Staying on top of medication is important since it costs so much.”
EpiPens, used for allergic reactions, cost $300 apiece. So keeping control of inventory saves money in addition to making available the tools and equipment necessary to save lives, he said.
He has taken the service’s many manual processes and put them into digital format for ease of tracking and information.
“I am a problem solver; give me a problem and I’ll find a solution for it,” he said. “I never accept no for an answer.”
He likes working with all the paid and volunteer staff, especially the millennials who are part of the live-in program. Two Sacred Heart University students live at EMS headquarters and respond to calls overnight and are on hand for calls during other hours while they do their homework and the like.
Fiore works weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“I believe if you’re not at your job 15 minutes early, you’re late,” he said. “Being in the building makes you available to respond to calls.”
Born and raised in the Bronx, Fiore has lived in the tri-state area his entire life. He and Ginger, his wife of 27 years, recently sold their house in Trumbull and are moving to a condo in Seymour. Ginger is health and safety officer at the Kennedy Center in Trumbull.
Their son, Chris, 24, is founder and owner of Fiore’s Powersports, dealing primarily with personal watercraft sales and service. Their daughter, Amanda, 22, is a senior at Liberty University in Virginia, where she studies nursing.
For hobbies, Fiore enjoys geocaching and car repairs and detailing.
Fiore brings 28 years as a volunteer EMT in the tri-state area. He started his career in 1989 in the emergency medical field for the East Windsor, N.J., rescue squad.
A building explosion near where he lived brought him into contact with the rescue squad. The EMTS told him about their work, and he was instantly interested in learning more about it. He took the required courses, passed the state exams and got to work.
He moved back to the Bronx in 1993 and volunteered for the Throggs Neck Volunteer Ambulance Corps. When he moved to Trumbull in 1995, he joined the Trumbull Volunteer Emergency Medical Service, where he managed inventory and computers. He also trains local Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in first aid.
In 2016 he became a paid, part-time employee of the Monroe Volunteer Ambulance Service. His duties as assistant office administrator included day-to-day operations, purchase orders and statistics tracking, in addition to responding to calls as an EMT.
Fiore also brings a combined total of 39 years in the financial sector, beginning at Merrill Lynch, where he worked for 28 years in information technology, production support, application support, data center, management performance, and capacity planning.
One week after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, he was able to drive his personal pickup truck to his office in Manhattan. At Pier 40, across the street from his office at Merrill Lynch, there was a drop-off area for supplies to be delivered to the site.
He went there and offered his services. At first he took people and supplies to an area away from the “hot” zone. Then he began loading his truck and driving the supplies to the locations where they would be most useful.
He also helped the trainers and the rescue dogs being fitted with casts so they wouldn’t burn their paws and assisted with hydrating the rescue dogs with intravenous solutions.
“We were able to coordinate the effort of what was needed — firefighter gloves, boots because they were melting, first aid, water, energy drinks … anything you could imagine,” he said. “I was there to witness the ‘sound of silence’ when there was a recovery.”
After Merrill Lynch he worked for SAC Capital Advisors in operations, data center management and trade floor support for eight years. That position was followed by three years at General Reinsurance in overnight operations, special projects and automation. When the contracts were underbid, all the employees were let go, he said.
As an older worker, finding employment in the corporate sector wasn’t happening, Fiore said. He was out of work for nine or 10 months before learning about the part-time administrative assistant and EMT position in Monroe.
He continued to work the Monroe job in the evenings after joining the Easton service until budget cutbacks recently ended the Monroe position.
Things have changed a great deal since he began as an EMT 28 years ago, he said. AEDs didn’t exist, and long boards for carrying patients were made of woods, weighed a lot and absorbed people’s bodily fluids.
Service members keep up to date with their skills because they must be recertified every three years.
Easton is different from other towns where he’s been an EMT, he said. Because the number of call is relatively low, service members have more time to spend on calls.
“Patient care is not only for the patient but extends for the family,” he said.
He looks forward to getting out in the community and meeting people at events, in the schools and at the Senior Center.