Mayor Bill de Blasio and Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro today announced that Fire Department personnel responded to a record number of emergency calls in 2014 that will likely exceed 1.6 million by December 31st – the highest total ever in the agency’s 149-year history. The previous record high was in 2012 when the agency responded to 1.575 million emergencies. Fire responses are up 9%, largely due to an increase in reported gas emergencies; and emergency medical service calls rose 3%, continuing a nearly 20-year trend in rising EMS responses citywide.
“Today, our city’s fire department marks an important achievement—we’re on track toward responding to the highest number of emergencies in its history,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Our firefighters and emergency personnel are heroes that rise to the challenge every time—and this year, fires and fire fatalities remain at historic lows. This serves as testament to the skill and commitment of the men and women of the FDNY to help their fellow New Yorkers when they need it most. It takes a special kind of person to run toward fire, instead of away from it—but that’s what New York’s Bravest do on a daily basis. We commend your accomplishment—and we roll up our sleeves to perform even better next year for New Yorkers in every neighborhood.”
“Responding to more calls for help than ever before is a challenge for our firefighters, EMTs and Paramedics, but they once again rose to the challenge this year to help New Yorkers in need,” said Fire Commissioner Nigro. “In each instance the men and women of the FDNY responded with courage and compassion to provide life-saving emergency care to people who were sick, injured or endangered – and as a result saved many lives.”
PRELIMINARY STATISTICS THROUGH DECEMBER 14, 2014
Firefighters responded this year to nearly 18,000 more gas/unknown odor emergency calls than in 2013 – stemming largely from heightened concern and awareness following the explosion in East Harlem on March 12 that killed eight people. Following the tragic incident, the Mayor and Commissioner urged New Yorkers to call 911 and report any suspected gas leaks.
2014 43,692 (+68%)
FIRE-RELATED DEATHS REMAIN NEAR RECORD LOW
As of Dec. 15, there have been 68 fire-related deaths in New York City – one more than the total that occurred in 2013. (This includes the eight deaths that occurred at the East Harlem gas explosion.) The overall trend for fire deaths remains the lowest in city history: During the last five years, fewer New Yorkers have died in fires than in any comparable five-year period since accurate record-keeping began in 1916.
2014 68 (thru Dec. 14)
The record high number of fire deaths in New York City was 310 in 1970.
Serious fires are up slightly in 2014 – about 2% – but are down more than 4% overall in comparison to the previous four year trend (2010-2013).
Serious fires (one alarm and higher):
While the total number of EMS incidents increased more than 3% in 2014, responses to calls categorized as life-threatening (e.g., cardiac arrest, unconscious and choking) rose by 6%, to 459,366 – up from 431,630 the previous year. Non-life threatening medical incidents increased to 930,719 in 2014, up from 920,859 in 2013.
Total EMS Responses
2014 1,289,854 (+3%)
This continues the upward trend of steady increases in medical emergencies since the FDNY and NYC EMS merged in 1996. From 1996 to 2014, EMS responses have increased in 15 of 18 years, and have increased overall about 28 percent compared to 1996.
Community Outreach and Education
The continued trend of record low fire deaths is accomplished in large part by extensive educational efforts by the FDNY Fire Safety Education Unit (FSEU). Funded by the FDNY Foundation, this year the FSEU educated more than 600,000 New Yorkers at more than 7,000 Fire Safety presentations; in addition, FDNY members distributed more than 7,300 smoke alarms, 72,000 batteries and installed smoke alarms in the homes of seniors and homebound New Yorkers.
Through a partnership with NYC Service, FDNY also trained 13,000 New Yorkers to perform compressions-only CPR. In 2015, FDNY, NYC Service and the Department of Education will train 5,000 High School students citywide to perform this life-saving skill.
(YWN Desk – NYC)