As assistant chief of operations at the Sarasota County Fire Department, Paul Dezzi had more than 500 employees under his command. Now, Dezzi works with a considerably smaller staff of 33 as deputy chief of Longboat Key Fire Rescue.
“There’s more camaraderie,” Dezzi said.
Dezzi assumed the position of deputy chief July 20. The position had been vacant since May 2008, when Dep. Chief Pat Carden left the department.
Dezzi brings an emergency-medical- services specialty to the department. He began his career in 1984 with the Sarasota County Fire Department and moved up the ranks from firefighter to lieutenant, captain and, most recently, to assistant chief of operations. Dezzi was also in charge of the Advanced Life Technologies Support transport department.
“Longboat Key Fire Rescue is very fortunate to have a deputy chief with this much experience,” said Longboat Key Fire Rescue Chief Richard Dickerson, in a prepared statement.
The town considered 17 candidates for the position. Dezzi’s salary with the town is $84,389.76.
As deputy chief, Dezzi hopes to streamline communications between Fire Rescue shifts and incorporate new technologies into the department, which he says already uses advanced equipment.
“One unique thing about Longboat Key is every apparatus is equipped with medication,” he said, noting that this allows fire-rescue personnel to treat patients even when an ambulance is not immediately available.
Dezzi hopes to promote educational programs, including those that educate civilians about topics such as CPR. But some of the topics he wants people to know about are even more basic, such as the importance of calling 911 in an emergency. Already, he has encountered residents who call the department’s seven-digit office number instead of 911, thinking that will generate a faster response.
When Dezzi isn’t working 24-hour shifts at the department, he enjoys spending time with his family. He and his wife, Deanna, have four sons: Adam, 18, Stephen, 16, and 10-year-old twins, Nick and Ryan, all of whom play baseball and keep him busy with practices and games.
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