2005-02-11 / Community

Addabbo: Require Minimum For FDNY Response

City Council Member Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. has announced that he has co-sponsored legislation in the Council requiring that all firefighting engine and ladder companies in the city be staffed with a minimum of five firefighters and one fire officer.

Addabbo said that last December the city administration put a policy in effect that dropped the number of firefighters on nearly every engine company in the city from five firefighters to four. Only 11 of the city’s 197 engine companies retained their fifth man.

Addabbo warned that the reduction in staffing could jeopardize lives. “Five firefighters are essential in that race against time to save a life”, he stated. The councilman also said that former FDNY Chief of Department John Hart concluded that a four-firefighter engine does not represent an adequately manned fire company. Former FDNY Deputy Chief Vincent Dunn concluded in his study that a four-firefighter engine could not provide an aggressive interior attack on a fire and maintain an acceptable standard of safety for firefighters. Dunn’s study also found that reducing a fire company from five to four firefighters doubles the time it takes to get water on the fire, dramatically increasing the threat of loss of life and property damage.

In explaining the need for his legislation, Addabbo said that firefighters need proper staffing to protect themselves and the residents they serve. “The city administration’s ill conceived policy of reducing staffing can have a tragic effect on firefighters and the public.”

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