U.S. Rep. Steve Israel
(D-N.Y.) paid tribute to David H. Fischler, the recently retired Suffolk County commissioner of emergency services, telling House colleagues Feb. 10 that Fischler began his 28-year career by volunteering for the
St. James Fire Department,
and then rising to the positions of assistant chief and chief of the department.
While continuing to volunteer in for St. James, Fischler was retained as emergency
manager by Suffolk County, which has approximately 12,500 providers in 136 fire and EMS
agencies, Israel said.
Fischler retired on Jan. 8. In his tribute to him, Israel noted:
"Commissioner Fischler has commanded major incidents, including hurricanes and coastal storms that
destroyed 104 homes in 48 hours, the 1995 Wildfires, the 1996 TWA incident, and the county's
response in 2001 to the World Trade Center in support of our neighbors in New York City."
"His skill as a leader, manager and emergency services expert invariably saved lives, property and hardship
for the people of our community in each of these instances," the
congressman said. "Most importantly, he ensured professional, timely, organized response in the event of each challenging disaster."
Israel went on to say in his tribute:
"Commissioner Fischler is also a vice-president of the NYS Emergency Management Association, a
member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs Terrorism/Homeland Security Committee and
has spoken extensively throughout the country. Furthermore, the Commissioner is an attorney and is
heavily involved in community activities.
"During Commissioner Fischler's distinguished tenure, Suffolk County became the first county in New
York State to develop and implement a Hurricane/Coastal Storm Plan and Special Needs Sheltering
Program. Additionally, it is believed that Suffolk County became the first municipality in the
nation to develop a Mental Health Special Needs Sheltering Program. Finally, Commissioner
Fischler's leadership prompted Suffolk County to be the first county in New York State and the
greater northeast to be designated 'Storm Ready' by the National Weather Service.
"Commissioner Fischler has served Suffolk County with the highest degree of professionalism and excellence. I wish to extend a sincere thank you to Commissioner Fischler for his many years of remarkable public service to the people of Suffolk County, for the legacy of excellence he leaves behind for our fire, rescue and emergency services and for his highly capable, selfless and steady leadership during our most trying and dangerous times over the past ten years."