New Syosset Fire Department Chief Robert Kaplan listens to radio...

New Syosset Fire Department Chief Robert Kaplan listens to radio communications at the scene of a two-story residential fire earlier this week. (April 19, 2011) Credit: Photo by Kevin Imm

Robert Kaplan enjoyed his first stint leading a Long Island fire department so much that he worked his way up to the top spot in a second community.

Kaplan, 45, was elected the new chief of the Syosset Fire Department on April 7, taking over for John Capobianco. Kaplan was chief of the Jericho Fire Department in 1997. That year he moved to Syosset and joined its fire department, starting as a firefighter and earning promotions.

“I was excited about the change,” said Kaplan of starting over. He had worked with the Syosset Fire Department several times as the Jericho chief, when alarms called for backup.

In his 26 years as a volunteer firefighter, Kaplan also served as first and second deputy chief of the Jericho Fire department, and captain and lieutenant of Engine No. 5 in Syosset. He has also worked as an EMT for both departments. He responded to 780 alarms just last year.

“I enjoy what I do,” said Kaplan, who is a partner in Tenth Wave Digital, a marketing agency. “I enjoy volunteering. I enjoy helping the community.”