OFFICE LOCATION: Corporate Headquarters: Charlotte, NC
Eric DePoto is a Consultant with Threat Suppression Incorporated, where he teaches technical rescue, high-threat extractions, and tactical medicine. Eric has worked at Threat Suppression since 2016. Eric has taught cutting-edge rescue skills and techniques for more than a decade. Eric served for several years as a combat medic for a light infantry unit with the Army Reserves and National Guard. During his time in the military, he learned advanced techniques of medical care within tactical environments. Eric also learned about the principles of operating in a high-threat environment. After his time in the military, Eric went to college in Virginia and was on the local fire and EMS departments, both with the county and the university. Eric served as an EMS shift supervisor for the county, and chief of the university EMS department.
After college, Eric moved to Florida where he continued his fire service career as a volunteer in central Florida. Shortly after joining as a volunteer, Eric responded to numerous significant events. Eric responded to the largest and strongest tornado to ever go through Florida in 1998, as well as responding and mitigating one of the largest wildfires in the state’s history that same year. Because of Eric’s proven leadership at these events, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant at the fire department. Eric then began his career in fire service instruction.
In 1999, Eric was hired as a full-time firefighter with Orange County Fire Rescue. Upon completion of the fire academy, Eric was assigned to the Special Operations Division. In the Special Operations Division, he learned the cutting-edge, newest techniques in rescue operations. Eric was responsible for maintaining advanced certifications in rope rescue, collapse rescue, confined space rescue, vehicle/machinery extrication, water rescue, trench rescue, dive/water rescue, and hazardous materials. Eric became a member of technical rescue regional response team that covered central Florida from coast-to-coast. This team was available 24 hours a day to respond to complex emergencies, both locally and regionally. This team also provided rescue and recovery for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s bomb squad. Eric trained and responded with the bomb squad on multiple bomb and terrorist incidents within central Florida.
Eric was an original member of Florida Task Force 4, an urban search and rescue (USAR) team which was a state/federal asset for disaster responses. He was a rescue specialist and deployed multiple times including to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Eric was on a vehicle extrication competition team for five years. On this team, he placed second at a national competition in 2004, and fifth in an international competition in 2005.
While working with Orange County Fire Rescue, Eric became an instructor for Rescue Training Associates (RTA). This was a nationally known company taught special operations for local, state, and federal assets around the nation. He also sat on a committee which helped rewrite the state curriculum for many of the special operations disciplines with a concentration in vehicle extrication. Later in 2009, Eric became a member of Technical Rescue Consultants (TRC), another private training company and continued training special operations classes to both private and public-sector teams and departments.
In 2008, Eric moved to Charlotte, North Carolina and continued his fire service career with the Charlotte Fire Department where he currently works. Eric was assigned to the Special Operations Command since his graduation from the academy. Eric served for six years as a senior firefighter to Rescue Company 3, one of two heavy companies in the city. Every day, Rescue Company 3 responds to numerous working fires, technical rescues, and other complex emergencies throughout the city. In July 2020, Eric was promoted to fire captain, and remains assigned to Special Operations Command.
Eric is also a member of one of North Carolina’s state USAR teams where he has been deployed multiple time throughout the state as well as the nation. In 2015 Eric became a member of the North Carolina Helicopter Search and Rescue Team and has deployed multiple times as a pararescueman.
Since 2011, Eric has trained members of the Department of Defense Special Operations Command on rescue skills and techniques in various environments. In addition to training SOCOM units, Eric has also trained multiple elite special operations units with U.S. federal agencies. Many of these units have deployed to extreme high-threat, austere environments.
Eric continuously teaches around the country as well as lecturing at conferences for the private and public sectors. He has spoken on various topics at different sized venues from local departments, to the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC, the largest fire service conference in the world). Eric has received multiple awards and citations, including several for life-saving actions performed during Hurricane Katrina. Eric holds numerous fire and rescue certifications, including many instructor certifications.