FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 17, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES NEW YORK CITY'S FIRE RESPONSE TIMES AND EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS IN SCHOOLS IN WEEKLY RADIO ADDRESS
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, January 17, 2010
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"This has been an extraordinarily difficult week for the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers with strong ties to Haiti. The devastation there is truly staggering, and the loss of life almost unfathomable. We continue to pray for all the people of Haiti, and for their friends and family in New York, many of whom are still standing by the phone, hoping and waiting to hear that their loved ones are safe. We're also doing everything we can to help in the recovery and relief effort, including mobilizing more than 80 of New York's heroes from the police and fire departments' search and rescue team. The outpouring of generosity from New Yorkers is not surprising - we remember how the world came to our aid after the attacks of 9/11 and if you're looking for a way to help, please call the Red Cross - or 311. The City's nonprofit arm is taking donations on behalf of the Red Cross and other reputable organizations who are leading the recovery efforts.
"New York's first responders are often called upon to help in times of crisis - and that is because they are finest in the world. They proved that again in 2009 by making New York City safer than it's been at any time in modern memory. Crime is at historic lows and so are civilian fire deaths. Last year, 73 New Yorkers died in fires - the lowest number on record. Now, each fire death is still a terrible tragedy, but thanks to the FDNY, such tragedies are steadily diminishing. In fact, the lowest previous number of recorded fire fatalities was in1919, when our city's population was only about two-thirds what it is today.
"Quicker responses play a big part in reducing fire fatalities, and it's no coincidence that during 2009, the average response time to structural fires was four minutes and two seconds - the lowest ever. A major reason for the improved response times is the 'unified call taking' 911 dispatch system the City introduced last May. We've also cut response times with an expedited dispatch protocol that gets fire trucks on the move much faster. Our Bravest are doing a tremendous job of keeping us safe, and I'm confident that they'll continue building on their record of success under the leadership of new Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano.
"The ability to receive clear, accurate, and timely information is key in any kind of emergency. That's why we're also working to expand Notify NYC, our emergency alert system. Notify NYC is a service that sends neighborhood-specific alerts via e-mail, text message, Twitter, and automated telephone calls. Every person who signs up to receive Notify NYC alerts - and more than 27,000 have done so since its launch last year - automatically gets messages about major emergencies around the city. Subscribers also have the option of being alerted to other types of events in their neighborhoods that may only cause minor disruptions - such as power outages.
"Starting this month, we're also going to use Notify NYC to alert parents to events in our public schools - like snow days, emergency evacuations, temporary relocations, and delayed openings. And if we need parents to take action, we'll use Notify NYC to transmit any instructions clearly, accurately, and in a timely manner. Parents: if you want to receive these messages you must sign up for them - even if the schools already have your contact information, you will not receive Notify NYC alerts unless you subscribe to the service. To begin receiving alerts about your child's school, just log onto the Notify NYC website at nyc.gov and enter your contact information. And don't worry: We will only use the contact information you give us to send alert messages about your neighborhood, your community, and your child's school. Nothing else. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958