NEW YORK, NY – New York City has added a fifth firefighter to many engine companies. This allows for a quicker stretch of the hose line and the ability to put out a fire faster.
“These neighborhoods will now be safer due to restoring a fifth man or woman to these engines,” said Gerard Fitzgerald, President of the UFA. “However, with congestion and construction clogging up our city streets, other communities will continue to suffer as our men and women have limited ability to respond effectively and get to emergencies, making fires more dangerous than ever before.”
New York City traditionally had five firefighters on each engine as recently as the 1970s. Nearly a decade ago, the Bloomberg Administration removed the fifth firefighter from all companies in favor of mandating two engines of four men and women respond to each call.
The most recent agreement with the de Blasio Administration allows for 15 engines to be staffed with a fifth man or woman with an expectation of five more coming in the future. Per this agreement, the five new engines to receive a fifth man are located in two locations in Brooklyn, one in the Bronx, one in Long Island City and one in East Harlem. This brings the current number of engines with a fifth firefighter up to 15 out of 198 companies citywide.
“As we have seen numerous times this year already, NYC firefighters have dealt with increasingly unsafe conditions when serving our city. We have seen, first-hand, how imperative having a fifth man or woman on all engine companies is for our neighborhoods and safety of our membership,” added Fitzgerald. “While we are happy to receive a fifth man for an additional five engines, this inconsistent staffing is making certain neighborhoods throughout New York City safer than others – it’s time for the City to reinstate the fifth man citywide.”