According to new statistics, 2014 has officially been the busiest year in FDNY history as they have responded to over 1.6 million calls, up from the previous record of 1.575 million in 2012. These staggering numbers are, “The highest ever, literally, in the history of this city,” according to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. Many city officials claim that this inflated number is due to the large increase in calls related to possiblegas leaks. Gas related emergency calls were up by 68% and stand at about 45,000 emergency calls. These numbers have gone up dramatically, especially in light of the March 2014 East Harlem building explosion which claimed 7 lives and left dozens injured and homeless. Over 200 firefighters were called to helped battle a massive blaze which destroyed the entire building and was found to be the result of a large gas leak in the building. Apparently tenants had complained for days that the building stunk of gasoline and one tenant even broke open a door to the roof for some fresh air and ventilation.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro spoke to the media and said that people who would normally call the gas company or their landlord are now directly calling 911. He acknowledged that though calls have increased, they are still at a “manageable number.” Tenants who smell gas are encouraged to alert the authorities and have the issue properly checked out. In cases of fire safety it is always better to err on the side of caution and avoid a potential calamity. Furthermore, besides just the number of calls, also up is the number of fire related deaths which stands at 68 and the average FDNY response time which now is at4 minutes and 49 seconds. This again highlights the importance of practicing fire safety and having a fire evacuation plan in place. It will most likely be around 5 minutes until the fire department arrives and you should be asking yourself where you’ll be when they come. Looking ahead, 2015 is the 150th anniversary of the FDNY and they are planning on celebrating once it gets warmer, later in the year. The public will be invited into firehouses to learn about the stations and fire safety practices. The hope is that increased awareness about fire safety will lead to a dramatic decrease in dangerous fires and fire-related injuries and deaths. Fire Commissioner Nigro also said that that one of the goals will be to interest young people in exploring a career in the fire department.