So far this year, there have been 76 fire-related deaths, five more deaths than in all of 2021, while the FDNY’s average response time increased 2.3%
New Yorker fire deaths have increased as the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) response times continue to increase, a fact that many critics link to progressive traffic policies in the city.
So far this year, there have been 76 fire-related deaths, five more deaths than in all of 2021, at the same time that the FDNY’s average response time increased 2.3%, the New York Post reported.
FDNY data showed that from January to mid-September fire engines took five minutes and three seconds on average, seven seconds longer than the 2021 average.
In 2019, before the start of the pandemic, the FDNY was getting to structure fires nine seconds faster, averaging 4 minutes and 54 seconds, even though the number of fire calls was higher, records show.
Given this, critics pointed to the street closures and outdoor dining programs in New York City with the aim of promoting economic recovery in the pandemic. They also point to new bike lanes, viral barriers and other anti-car policies made under former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” initiative aimed at reducing traffic fatalities.
“When you see the amount of construction with the bike lanes and those problems in certain areas, you have instances where these long (fire) trucks can no longer turn to go in or out of a block,” said the president of the Association. of Firefighters Uniforms, Andrew Ansbro. “It definitely causes delays, and delays cost lives.”
He also pointed out that non-car lanes effectively force fire trucks to set up farther from the curb, reducing the height their ladders can reach.
“If you go 10 feet away from the building, it’s one floor less,” he added. “You’ve basically put an entire floor of civilians out of range.”
Residents in Jackson Heights, Queens, told The Post they saw a fire truck speeding down 34th Avenue in response to a medical emergency in September come to an abrupt stop after nearly colliding with a planter box that was out of order. located on a 26-block tree-lined stretch, where traffic was limited.
“How they redesigned 34th Avenue: It’s a safety (hazard),” said resident Mary McGuckin, 64. “I have seen fire trucks, emergency vehicles that have to stop. You can’t tell me that’s shortening time.”
However, Councilman Shekar Krishan of Queens, whose district influences Jackson Heights, insisted that the new linear park was built with input from the Department of Transportation and the Fire and Police Departments “to improve the safety and accessibility of our convenience.” ”, adding that they were seeing “incredible results”.
Meanwhile, FDNY officials attributed the increased response time lag to higher traffic volumes throughout the city due to the “relaxation” of restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, based on the mayor’s management report. in fiscal year 2022 published in September.
They also stressed that street closures and other measures to stop traffic have not influenced the increase in deaths, noting that of the 76 fire-related deaths in 2022, 17 occurred in January in a single fire that occurred in an apartment complex. in the Bronx, where there were no known delays in response related to traffic.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.