The Fire Commissioner, appointed by the Mayor of the City of New York, is the civilian administrator and head of the Department. The current Fire Commissioner is Laura Kavanagh.
As Fire Commissioner, Commissioner Kavanagh oversees the day-to-day administration of the agency’s 17,000 employees and $2 billion-dollar budget. Her role includes overseeing critical units such as fleet, facilities, 911 dispatch operations, technology, data analytics, and health services.
She has been a key leader in the agency’s response to major incidents including the Ebola outbreak of 2015 and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, as well as spearheading key policy initiatives for the department. Commissioner Kavanagh directed the firefighter recruitment campaign to yield the most diverse applicant pool in Department history, including graduating the largest and most diverse group of women in almost three decades. She also paved the way for technology innovation through the development of applications that provide situational awareness to frontline members; created a fire safety program that installed and distributed smoke alarms in the most at-risk neighborhoods; and advocates for first responders at the City, State and Federal level.