First Responders Are There For You

By Jano Tantongco


They’ve been there for you, and they’re asking you to be there for them, too.

Todd Cohen, a 30-year firefighter from Dix Hills, co-founded a referral service dubbed Hire A First Responder listing for-hire work of all kinds ranging from legal services, construction, graphic design, plumbing and electrical work. And, it’s made up exclusively of verified first responders from the neighborhood.

“I’ve been in the fire department for about 30 years and over the years, people are always calling me saying, ‘Do you know a plumber?’ ‘Do you know an electrician?’” Cohen said.

If he couldn’t find a service provided in his own department, he added that he’d often call other nearby fire departments to ask if they had members with that particular skillset.

“I just started realizing when I started to get to know other people in other fire departments that there’s a lot of talent out there. So, why not take all this talent and try to group it under one service?”

Scheduled to officially on July 3, the service is free for customers to use and charges first responders a nominal fee to receive their referrals.

Similar services, he said, offer a contractor a lead, but shares it with other contractors, as well. With Hire A First Responder, a customer is matched with one well-suited contractor, who won’t have to compete with others.

But, Cohen said, they’ll also provide more referrals for bigger projects where customers may want to compare quotes.

Vicky Weinstein, of Dix Hills, troubled by a faulty cesspool two weeks ago, stumbled on the service browsing Facebook. She was contacted right away and referred to a first responder who fixed the issue the very same day.

“This is the most wonderful service. They’re great. They came, they took care of it, and I appreciated it,” Weinstein said

To learn more, request a service or sign up as a contractor, visit