Work We Do: Kenny Burns, Cutchogue Fire Department

Hello, my name is Kenny Burns. I’m with the Cutchogue Fire Department. This is my second year as captain. It’s my 11th year as a member and, because of being a volunteer, I actually do this now for a living. I work as a paid first responder for Amagansett and Bridgehampton. 

I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my life. I love my job. I love volunteering. It gets hard; you can be called any time of the day, any time of the night. It could be Thanksgiving, it could be two in the morning. You never know when the pager is going to go off.

Sometimes it’s either a 12- or 24-hour shift. It’s not that bad. You have stressful moments during a call but during downtime it’s not that stressful; you can do whatever keeps you happy.

My wife is very understanding, between the trainings here at the firehouse, being a volunteer keeping up with classes to stay an EMT, critical care.

Some of my duties as captain are administrative. It’s also being there for all the members.

Any events we have I either organize or I delegate.

You know there is no regular day. You can wake up in the morning 7 a.m., the alarm can go off, the pager goes off — or it doesn’t go off till later in the afternoon or it doesn’t go off at all.

You do see stuff that the public normally doesn’t on a daily basis. If someone asked me 12 years ago if I could do the stuff I’m doing now, I thought no. When I joined the fire department I didn’t think I could do it but then I went out on a few calls.

When you’re there in the heat of things, you don’t think about what’s going on. You think about what you need to do, what’s best for the patient. I never thought I could do an IV on a person or put pads on a person and shock them, but I’m here now.

It’s not easy, but I think it’s worth it. When someone comes up to you, hugs you, thanks you, writes you a letter, it makes it all worth it.

“The Work We Do” is a Suffolk Times multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork. It is made possible by Peconic Landing. See more photos on Instagram @thesuffolktimes.