Clifton Firefighters Perry and Sasso - the Nicest Men You Never Want to Need
Frank Prezioso is in his fifth year serving as Clifton's Fire Chief, succeeding Chief Kevin McCarthy, who retired at the end of 2018. He's been a firefighter in this city for 28 years, since October 20, 1995. Working under Chief Prezioso are four Deputy Chiefs, eight Captains, 22 Lieutenants, and the rest are firefighters. There are three women in the department; one of whom is a Lieutenant.
Clifton is home to six fire stations, though one of them has been closed for about a year and a half following serious flood damage from Hurricane Ida. Prezioso said that Fire Station #1 is almost fully repaired and should be reopening in about a month. Station #1 was able to collect FEMA and insurance money to cover the necessary repairs. The firefighters who normally work out of Station #1 have been relocated to Engine #6 during the repairs.
Do you know the difference between a fire engine and a fire truck? A fire engine carries 500 gallons of water and is used primarily for extinguishing fires. A new engine, coming soon to Clifton, can actually carry 750 gallons! These engines also carry hoses and some ground ladders. A ladder company with fire trucks, like #3 and #2 in Clifton, is primarily responsible for forcing entry when necessary, ventilation, laddering the building, and gaining access for search and rescue missions. They open up ceilings and floors to uncover hidden fires so that the engine company can extinguish them.
In addition to the ladder trucks and engines, the city of Clifton has three ambulances in service around the clock. The third is relatively new; we brought it in just a few years ago, near the beginning of Prezioso's tenure as Chief. Prezioso noted that with the city's growing population, an additional ambulance may eventually be needed. All of the firefighters are trained to Fire 1 and Fire 2 level qualifications and receive six-seven weeks of EMS training, which means that every one of them is able to provide emergency medical services on the scene.
When I met with Chief Prezioso at 10:30 this morning, I could not have imagined that I would be experiencing those services in action just hours later. There was a medical emergency with my son, who is home from college for the week, less than three hours after I left the Chief's office. Troy Perry and Nick Sasso showed up approximately five minutes after my call to 9-1-1. Their calm demeanor and Sasso's easy smile were reassuring in those very tense moments. Perry tended to my son while Sasso sat with me in another room, taking the necessary information and keeping me distracted from the otherwise distressing situation. They stayed with us for nearly half an hour and ultimately, took my son by ambulance to the hospital for further treatment.
Nobody wants to need emergency medical services, especially for a child. Nobody wants to need a fire engine and firefighters with axes and hoses. Sometimes emergencies happen though, and it is reassuring to know that in Clifton, we have truly dedicated and caring people like Perry and Sasso who will come out and do what they can to make your terrible situation better.