The Chief of Department, appointed by the Fire Commissioner, is the highest-ranking uniformed position in the FDNY. The current Chief of Department is John Sudnik. Chief Sudnik was appointed by Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro in 2019.
Chief Sudnik’s career with the Department began in 1985 and has served as the Chief of Fire Operations since 2014. He oversees the Department’s 16,000 uniformed Firefighters, EMS and four major agency Bureaus: Fire Operations, EMS Operations, Training and Fire Prevention.
As Chief of Fire Operations, Chief Sudnik oversaw day-to-day work of more than 11,000 firefighters and fire officers, as well as dozens of high-ranking staff chiefs, deputy and battalion chiefs who are in command at the more than 600,000 emergency incidents handled annually. He also oversaw the Department’s highly trained special units including Hazardous Materials, Marine Division, Rescue Operations and Specialized Operations Command.
Prior to serving as Chief of Operations, he served as Manhattan Borough Commander from 2012 to 2014 and Queens Borough Commander from 2008 to 2012, where he oversaw fire operations in those respective boroughs.
Chief Sudnik’s first assignment was at Engine Company 23 in midtown Manhattan. He worked there until his promotion to lieutenant in 1994, when he was transferred to Brooklyn and assigned to Engine Company 235 in Bedford Stuyvesant. Three years later, he was promoted to Captain and worked in the 15th Division, later becoming the officer in charge of Engine Company 290 in East New York.
On September 11, Sudnik responded to the World Trade Center from FDNY headquarters, where he had been temporarily assigned, along with then-Chief of Operations Daniel Nigro and then-Chief of Department Peter Ganci, who died in the collapse of the North Tower. Five days later, Sudnik was promoted to Battalion Chief in a “battlefield” promotion ceremony of 170 fire officers following the deaths of 343 Department members.
Chief Sudnik is a 2006 graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School – Center for Homeland Defense and Security, where he earned a Master of Arts degree in Homeland Security. He received his undergraduate degree in business at Baruch College. He has also attended both the FDNY’s Advanced Leadership Course (2010) and the Officers Management Institute (2007).