Busiest-Ever FDNY Sounds The Alarm

NY Post - December 30, 2010

by KEVIN FASICK

New York's firefighters responded to a record-shattering half-million emergencies in 2010, the most in their 145-year history, officials of the Bravest's union said yesterday.

That included one hot week last summer when the department battled a record 8,700 blazes between July 4 and July 9, according to the Uniformed Firefighters Association.

"There's been an upward trend in terms of emergency responses for the FDNY," said UFA President Steve Cassidy, who warned the Bloomberg administration not to even think about closing firehouses or slashing the department's budget.

Six firehouses have been closed since Mayor Bloomberg took office.

"Even the notion of a cut to the Fire Department is a form of civic insanity," said Alexander Hagan, president of the fire officers union.

Cassidy attributed the rise in calls to the city's growing population.

He said the FDNY has been forced to deal with more emergencies this year "than we have ever imagined -- and we're doing this when the mayor has said we have to 'do more with less.'

"We're at a point in time when more and more people are calling the Fire Department than ever before.

Cassidy's figures include firetrucks responding to medical emergencies, which they have done since the FDNY took over the Emergency Medical Service 14 years ago. They do not include runs by EMS ambulances.

Cassidy also took a dig at the city's response to the blizzard.

"The fact that the storm did not get cleaned up the way it should have prevented firefighters and ambulances from getting to the public in critical emergencies, and the results have been disastrous," he said.