Weekly The Generation, Year 1, Issue 14
December 05, 2023
The Generation Desk: New York City Mayor Eric Adam’s announced budget cuts will hit the FDNY, with the city reducing the number of firefighters on the job, and the union says — that’s a big problem.
Fox News reported, Monday morning In a interview, Andrew Ansbro, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, said the city implemented a reduction in firefighters on some trucks from five to four to save $1 million per month. This will affect 20 engine companies.
Ansbro said removing them is a risky move that could cost lives, during a time when the city is moving into the busiest fire season of the year.
Meanwhile the association said the FDNY has been forced to remove the fifth firefighter position from 20 engine companies due to budget cuts ordered by Mayor Eric Adams.
ABC News reported, The union said it will make it more difficult to fight fires.
“There was a study done over 30 years ago that shows having that extra firefighter on an engine can reduce the time it takes to get water on a fire by 50%,” Ansbro said. “So, in an era right now where we know we’re having e-bike fires that are at an alarming rate, you know, five years ago, we didn’t know what an e-bike fire was. now they’re a large part of what our business is.”
The FDNY-Uniformed Firefighters Association says house fires increase during the winter months as temperatures drop. In addition, firefighters say, their jobs have become more dangerous with the elimination of the fifth man from 20 engine companies. However, the fifth firefighter has long been a fluid position, depending on budgets and who’s running the city.
Mayor Bloomberg cut the fifth firefighter from the remaining 60 engine companies to save money. Mayor DeBlasio re-staffed 20 engine companies. And now none of the 193 companies will have a fifth member on an engine. As per the labor contract, however, the fifth position is not mandatory.
“It’s a contractually negotiated point,” said FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh. FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh says the firefighters are incredible and doesn’t think New Yorkers will be less safe. But according to FDNY data, a fifth firefighter helps get water on a fire twice as quickly.
And the union will continue to push for that extra help. “Money can always be replaced, but a loss life is gone forever,” said Ansbro.
The five percent, across-the-board cuts announced last month have hit every agency, including the NYPD, Sanitation, and the elimination of library Sundays.
Mayor Adams has said the financial burden of housing asylum seekers made the cuts necessary.