In Our Opinion
May 19, 2009 | 7157 views | 0 0 comments | 69 69 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ideally, the Fire Department should not have to close firehouses, ever. Though times are indeed tough, the city is still responsible for providing emergency services.

A recession should not be enough to get them off the hook, yet somehow it is. How did we let Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the FDNY bamboozle us?

The FDNY is proposing to close 16 fire facilities this year. If the City Council approves the plan, it would be the second round of cuts since 2003. The Bloomberg Administration is shrinking emergency services right before our very eyes - even as FDNY responses to alarms increase at a record pace. Something doesn’t add up.

Last year, the Fire Department responded to nearly a half-million emergency calls. Because the FDNY is the busiest fire department in the nation, it should follow that it is adequately funded to serve a city of over eight million. Yet New York’s fire department receives less funding for fire facilities and emergency services than the fire departments of 17 other American cities. This makes no sense.

Engine Company 271 is just one of several firehouses in Brooklyn and Queens scheduled for the chopping block at the end of June. If it closes, according to the Queens Borough Command, response times will rise by 20 seconds. This might not sound like much, but when it’s a matter of rushing someone with a heart attack to the nearest hospital, or rescuing trapped people from a burning building, every second lost truly counts.

Who is going to pick up 271’s slack in the Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods the engine company currently serves? Engine Company 271 now responds to well over 2,000 calls a year. According to the FDNY, the four other engine companies serving the same coverage area have enough manpower and resources between them to do the job.

Even if this is true, imagine the added pressure, and stress, this will place on the firefighters there and elsewhere across the city who will have to work that much harder to protect this city. The city’s bravest deserve much better.

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