Tom has spent over forty (48) years in the Fire Service as a Volunteer Fire Fighter and Chief Officer. Over thirty (30) of those years were spent as a Fire Fighter and Officer in the Point Breeze Fire Dept. (PBFD) in Rockaway, NY. After attending the Nassau County Fire Academy Tom served in all capacities in the PBFD including Training Officer and Chief of Department. During his time there he responded to numerous major incidents including hurricanes, North Easters and the crash of a commercial airliner.
After moving to Florida in 1997 Tom immediately joined the Tavernier Fire Department in the Upper Florida Keys rising to the rank of Chief. He also worked for Monroe County in the Fire Rescue Division. Tom served as the Radiological Emergency Preparedness Administrator in the Office of Emergency Management. In this position he was responsible for planning the County’s response to a Radiological Emergency. He was also responsible for training responders for such an emergency, whether it resulted from the transport of Radiological material or an accident at the nearby Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant. To this end he formed the Radiological Response Team, made up of Fire Fighters, EMT’s and Law Enforcement officers trained to handle Radiological incidents. Tom is a certified instructor in Radiological Response Courses by both the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the United States Department of Energy (DOE).
He has taken numerous Fire and Emergency Management courses at Fire Academies in NY, NJ and FL as well as through the National Fire Academy (NFA) and the Emergency Management Institute.
As a member of the County’s Office of Emergency Management, Tom served as the County’s Incident Commander for all countywide disasters. These have included Tornadoes, activation of the EOC for 9/11, Haz-Mat incidents, and numerous Hurricanes including Charley, Ivan, Katrina, Rita and Wilma.
Tom’s involvement in the County’s 9/11 activation was cut short on 9/12 when he returned to NYC. His oldest son, Fire Fighter Thomas P. Cullen, III, assigned to FDNY Squad 41 was killed in the collapse of the South Tower.
In addition to his position in Emergency Management he was also an Instructor at the Monroe County Fire Academy. Additionally he is a State of Florida Fire Instructor as well as a State and FEMA certified ICS Instructor (L449) and has conducted numerous ICS Courses for the Fire service, Law Enforcement Agencies, Health Department Agencies and others. He is a certified WMD instructor by FEMA, ODP and DHS. Tom is an IAFF Haz-Mat trainer and served as the Monroe County Haz Mat Instructor, Instructor.
Tom moved to Maryville TN, near Knoxville, after retiring from Monroe County. While there he served as a member of the Knoxville Rescue Squad. He served as a member of the Heavy Rescue/ Technical Rescue Team. He also served as Training Officer and Chief. He currently resides in Lehigh Acres, Florida.