KEARNY  Four Kearny Fire Department promotions took effect on April Fool’s Day but you’d be a fool if you thought your leg was being pulled.

The municipal governing body adopted the recommendation of Fire Chief Steven Dyl to elevate Fire Capts. John Degiovanni and Joseph Mastandrea to the rank of deputy fire chief and to upgrade Firefighters Ronald Protokowicz and Michael Janeczko to fire captain.

Degiovanni, who ranked No. 1 on the Civil Service test for deputy chief, will collect annual pay of $128,342 as prescribed by the departmental salary guide, Tier 2, Step 1.

Mastandrea will pocket a $147,347-a-year salary as per the same guide, Tier 2, Step 6.

Protokowicz and Janeczko will each earn $107,000 a year.

Dyl said Degiovanni is being assigned as a tour commander while Mastandrea will work in administration, helping oversee training, planning and filling in our tours as needed.

Hired by the KFD March 1, 1999, Degiovanni was named captain in March 2013.

As part of his prior training, Degiovanni completed arson investigation school in March 2017, attended incident response to terrorist bombings school in New Mexico in 2017 and attended foam firefighting training in College Station, Texas, in 2009. 

He also got certified as a state-certified Level 1 Fire Instructor, Confined Space Train the Trainer and Incident Management System (IMS) Level 3. He participated on committees dealing with the use of Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) and Thermal Imaging Cameras.

Degiovanni has served as Fire Station 2 commander and he oversaw technical rescue training of KFD members. He serves on the Confined Space Team. He received commendations for his actions in a dog attack in April 2012 and for his work in Superstorm Sandy in 2013.

As a union member, he was recording secretary for FMBA Local 18 and for the KFSOA Local 218.

Mastandrea, whose cousins are active firefighters in Nutley and Clifton, was appointed to the KFD in February 1999 and promoted to fire captain in June 2009 when he was assigned to training and planning from September to November before being shifted to tours.

He returned to training and planning in May 2013 and was named departmental training and safety officer.

Training stints included IMS Level 3, Instructor Level 2, instructor in HazCom, bloodborne pathogens and confined space, water rescue and emergency response instructor, water rescue and emergency response instructor and foam firefighting class in Texas.

He worked on committees to design and acquire SCBA, Thermal Imaging Cameras, turnout gear and marine rescue equipment.

Mastandrea was credited with helping implement the department’s Computer-Aided Design system in 2013, teaming with now-retired Capt. Michael Livolsi to assemble a Dispatch Center and oversee/staff/train civilian dispatchers, working with Deputy Chief Bruce Kauffman to establish a KFD probationary firefighter program, assist with grant research that netted more than $2 million in funding, create the KFD Narcan anti-opioid program and partnered with now retired Chief Inspector John Donovan to set up the KFD Open House.

He received commendations in 2012 for actions during Superstorm Sandy and in 2013 for helping rescue a construction worker at an industrial accident.

Protokowicz was appointed firefighter Sept. 15, 2008, and took part in FBI training programs in terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and gang awareness, along with firefighter training related to Confined Space Team and IMS Level 1.

During his U.S. Navy tenure from 1994 to 1997, Protokowicz was stationed at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and served aboard the aircraft carriers USS George Washington and USS John Stennis.

Janeczko, hired as a firefighter in April 2007, has two cousins who are firefighters in Washington Township in Warren County. He had training as Red Cross lifeguard and Red Cross emergency-response trainer and IMS Level I.

Janeczko has been accorded several honors including Firefighter of the Year 2013 for helping rescue two firefighters trapped and injured in a building collapse at 118 Devon St. in which he, too, was hurt; Hudson County 200 Club Valor Award and N.J. State FMBA Brotherhood Award.

He has served as a Red Cross disaster volunteer for the past 25 years.

As a union member, Janeczko was vice president of FMBA Local 18.

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