FIRE COMMISSIONER SCOPPETTA
INCREASES MANNING ON FIRE ENGINES
Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta announced
that effective today the Department would be increasing from
40 to 45 the number of fire engines that are manned by five
firefighters instead of four. The increase comes in response
to improving medical leave figures for firefighting personnel,
and it pre-empts a negotiated agreement with the Uniformed
Firefighters Association (UFA) that called for the increase
effective on January 1, 2004.
Last June, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the UFA agreed
to amend an existing manning agreement, reducing from 60 to
40 the number of fire engines manned by five firefighters.
(The city has 197 fire engines; the majority are manned by
four firefighters.) The agreement stipulated the city would
gradually increase the number of five-firefighter units if
annualized medical leave levels dropped, setting various benchmarks
and dates to be met. The reductions in medical leave anticipated
at the time of the agreement have accelerated at a pace greater
than expected (today the annualized rate is 7.9%), thus paving
the way for today’s decision.
Both the Department and the UFA praised today’s action.
“We’re pleased that the first threshold in medical
leave reductions has been met early, and we’re equally
pleased to be increasing the number of five-firefighter engine
companies sooner than we had expected,” said Commissioner
Scoppetta. “As this trend continues, we look forward
ultimately to the full restoration of the 60 units with five
"September 11-related illness and injuries were the
main reason for the rise in firefighter leave and with disability
retirements the number has been dropping," said UFA President
Stephen Cassidy. "We commend the administration for taking
this pro-active step toward the early restoration of five
companies to full staffing and look forward to additional
The June 2003 agreement amended a 1996 staffing agreement
that called for 60 fire engines to be manned at the start
of every tour by five firefighters. While it reduced the
number from 60 to 40, the amended agreement calls for automatic
if certain medical leave reductions occur by certain dates,
as follows: if medical leave is at or below 8.0% by Jan.
1, 2004, 45 fire engines would be staffed by five firefighters;
on April 1, 2004, if medical leave is at or below 7.75%,
fire engines will be staffed by five firefighters; and by
July 2, 2004, the issue would revert to the original 1996
agreement of having 60 five-firefighter engines if medical
leave levels were at 7.5% or below.
At the time of the June
2003 agreement, the medical leave average exceeded 8.5%.
at the following engine companies will be increased effective
at 6 p.m. tonight:
Engine Company 35 in East Harlem, Manhattan
Engine Company 68 in Highbridge, the Bronx
Engine Company 84 in Washington Heights, Manhattan
Engine Company 257 in Canarsie, Brooklyn
Engine Company 275 in Jamaica, Queens
Contact: Francis X. Gribbon / Virginia Lam
(FDNY) (718) 999-2056