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Press Releases / 2008 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: DECEMBER 4, 2008

***MEDIA ADVISORY***

COMMISSIONER SCOPPETTA ANNOUNCES FIRE UNIT NIGHT CLOSINGS TO BEGIN JANUARY 17

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today announced the Department will cease operating a fire unit on Governor’s Island and will eliminate night tours at four other firefighting units beginning January 17 to meet an $8.9 million agency budget cut announced last month due to the city’s financial crisis.

With the exception of the Governor’s Island Fire Protection Unit (a three-person firefighting team that has been assigned to the 172-acre island in New York Harbor since 2004), no firehouses will be closed and no fire units permanently disbanded. The following four firehouses all have two units assigned, and one unit will remain in service 24/7 while the second goes off-line during night tours:

Address:   

Nighttime closure:  

Remains open 24/7:

42 South Street, Manhattan 
278 McClean Avenue, Staten Island
392 Himrod Street, Brooklyn
169 Schofield Street, Bronx  

Engine Co. 4
Engine Co. 161
Engine Co. 271
Ladder Co. 53 

Ladder Co. 15
Ladder Co. 81
Ladder Co. 124
Engine Co. 70

Affected units will remain in service during the day tour (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.), but will not be operational during the evening shift (6 p.m. to 9 a.m.).

The FDNY has a total of 198 engines, 143 ladders, seven squads, five rescue units, three marine units and one hazmat unit throughout the city.

“These are difficult times, and they require tough choices,” said Commissioner Scoppetta. “However, despite the nighttime closings, we’re able to keep these firehouses open and maintain the services of these units for daytime operations.”

The Department will achieve an estimated $8.9 million in annual savings with the nighttime closings through a reduction in overtime by redeploying firefighters to other units during the night tours. Eventually, savings will be achieved through reduced hiring of firefighters, beginning with the upcoming January class when only 100 – instead of 300 – new firefighters are hired.

 “Before deciding on nighttime closings of these units, we extensively analyzed our existing resources throughout the city, with the input of our most experienced and knowledgeable fire chiefs,” said Commissioner Scoppetta. “Our goal – first and foremost – is to minimize any impact these reductions could have on our ability to continue protecting and serving all New Yorkers. I believe we’ve accomplished that, especially given these trying fiscal times.”

The Department used a series of risk-based factors to identify companies whose nighttime closure would pose the least potential risk to the surrounding community. These criteria include:

  • Number of responses to fires and other emergencies (during the night tour)
  • Response times
  • Unit workload – both the amount and type of work
  • Unit location and proximity to other fire companies
  • Street locations, geographic obstacles, response to perimeter communities and overall impact on safety of individual communities and the city as a whole.

 

In order to provide emergency medical coverage on Governor’s Island, the FDNY will deploy an EMS unit when warranted by activity that brings persons there for work and/or recreational use.

The Department last month provided the city with proposals totaling more than $60 million in savings through a combination of budget cuts and new revenue increases. Among the budget cuts were a reduction in the length of Probationary Firefighters Training School (from 23 to 18 weeks of instruction), at a savings of $6 million annually, and a proposed increase of the tax on Fire Insurance Premiums (from 2% to 4%) that would raise $20 million annually.

 

Press Contact: Francis X. Gribbon & Steve Ritea, (FDNY) (718) 999-2056

http://www.nyc.gov/fdny

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