For Immediate Release: January 27, 2006
2005 Was Busiest Year in History for New York City Firefighters
New Yorkers Call Their Firefighters 6.4% More in 2005 with More Fires, Medical Emergencies, Gas Leaks & Noxious Fume Scares
New York, NY - The year 2005 was the busiest in the history of the Fire Department of the City of New York, with firefighters responding to 485,702 total responses an increase of 29,013 or 6.4 percent from the year 2004.
Previous to 2005, the busiest year on record for the FDNY had been 1977, when firefighters responded to 459,567 total responses.
"2005 will go down as the busiest year on record for firefighters, even taking into consideration the troubled times of the 1970's when entire blocks and neighborhoods were being burned out during the city's fiscal crisis," said Steve Cassidy, UFA President.
UFA members fought a combined 51,395 structural and non-structural fires in 2005 representing an increase of 1,247 or 2.5 percent over 2004.
Non-Fire Emergencies, including gas leaks, water leaks, and carbon monoxide alarms represented 199,643 emergency calls, an increase of 19,596 or a 10.8 percent increase from 2004. Due to the increasing availability and use of carbon monoxide detectors members of the department have seen an upsurge in emergency calls related to potentially fatal gasses in homes and businesses.
According to Underwriters Laboratories standards, home carbon monoxide detectors must sound a warning before carbon monoxide levels reach 100 parts per million over 90 minutes, 200 parts per million over 35 minutes or 400 parts per million over 15 minutes. The standard requires the alarm must sound before an average, healthy adult begins to experience symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. The warnings these devices offer provides tenants of the dwelling time to evacuate the premises and call the fire department.
"Each and every one of these calls for non-fire emergencies can be life threatening, regardless if it is a gas or water leak, smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector sounding off, requiring an extensive check to secure the premises before it can be safely reoccupied," said Mr. Cassidy. He added, "Our firefighters have and always will be there for the citizens of this great city, but as citizens need our services more and more we can not continue cutting resources."
Medical Emergencies Soar:
For the year 2005 total non-fire emergencies, including medical calls were 402,168, an increase of 32,960 over 2004. This represents an 8.9 percent increase from 2004 to 2005.
The only decrease for firefighters in 2005 came from false alarms, which showed a 13.9 percent fall-off. In 2004 there were 37,332 false alarms reported in the five boroughs, while that number fell to 32,138 in 2005.
After analyzing the radical increases of emergency calls and workload for New York City Firefighters Mr. Cassidy suggested, "In a post 9-11 world as we prepare for the realities and threats that terrorism holds for our city, we need dedicate more resources to allow firefighters to better protect the citizens of New York."