New FDNY methods, programs improve performance

For the first time, the FDNY deployed one of its three drones over a fire in the Bronx. Having a birds-eye view helped the crew on the ground monitor the safety of the group trying to control the fire, as well as letting them better direct them as well. This ultimately lead to the ground team being able to keep firefighters safeThe drone was manned by firefighters who are part of the FDNY Command Tactical Unit, who are trained specifically to operate the drones. An article posted on www1.nyc.gov goes into greater detail, stating, “The FDNY drone is tethered using a small cable that carries electricity up to the device, which gives the drone an unlimited flight time. The drone can stay aloft for as long as necessary to keep an aerial view on the target. All controls, data, and power transmit back and forth through the tether preventing interference with radio frequency signals. The drone is piloted by specially trained FDNY Firefighters from the Department’s Command Tactical Unit. The Department currently has three drones in its fleet to deploy as needed.” The safety of these firefighters and individuals alike is paramount to the FDNY, and new technology has only helped that cause.

The use of their drones is not the only new method they’ve used. The FDNY has recently reported being able to respond to medical emergencies quicker due to ‘fly cars’. The pilot program, which took off last summer according to the New York Post, has cut response time by more than a minute. As detailed by an article on NY Post, “Fly cars are accompanied by pared down “basic life support” ambulances, which can transport people to the hospital. If the fly car’s paramedic and lieutenant are no longer needed to perform first aid, they can then move on to the next emergency.”

FDNY commissioner touts faster response times with ‘fly cars’

FDNY Launches Drone For The First Time To Respond to Fire In The Bronx

Bill to raise age limit for Firefighters

Last week, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley backed a bill that would to raise the maximum age for an applicant from 28 to 30, with a 5 year window. “Ms. Crowley’s bill also mandates a 35-year-old cut-off for when a successful applicant can actually join the FDNY.”, via an article posted this week on The Chief-Leader. Crowley is currently the Chair of the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice. During a lengthy hearing on October 19th, the bill received no shortage of both praise and grave concern. Vincent Variale, President of Local 3621, FDNY EMS Lieutenants and Captains union, notes that a history of high EMS-to-Firefighter turnover rates makes it difficult for the EMS to retain its workforce. It is theorized that raising the age limit for firefighters would only exacerbate this trend.

A nuanced question of safety trickled through the discussion as well- less FDNY EMT’s on hand means less FDNY ambulances: “These shortages force the use of unreliable, for-profit, private ambulance companies instead of FDNY ambulances to provide service in the 911 system.”, Vincent Variale told The Chief-Leader in the article linked at the bottom of this page. This same article notes the fact that after the EMS and FDNY came together 21 years ago, EMS members were able to take a promotional exam to become firefighters.

Isreal Miranda, President of DC 37 Local 2507, shared Variale’s concerns. “With one year on the job and at least [a score of] 75 on the written exam a person will get the preference over a person with a 100 [score] who was on the open public competitive test.” Miranda stated. A method for gaining more firefighters was proposed, but no solutions to stave off the attrition rate for the FDNY EMS was put on the table. Although the council chair stated in the article from the Chief Leader that there was an area for compromise, it states no remedies.

All this being said, the bill wasn’t meant to be a detriment to the FDNY EMS. The age limit made with the idea that it will “…help the city achieve its goal of increasing the representation of both women and people of color in the firefighting ranks.” as quoted in an article on The Chief-Leader, linked below. Sarinya Srisakul, President of United Women Firefighters, supports raising the age maximum. Srisakul pointed out that over half of major cities don’t have an age limit, and the cities that do have an age cap of 35 yrs old. She went as far as to say that the age cap could be seen as discriminatory if no data proved it was necessary. Also present at the hearing were millennials who are currently too old to apply to be firefighters when it was something they wanted for various reasons extremely close to heart. Raising the age cap would give these individuals the opportunity to achieve a dream. “Shizam Dalbarry moved to the U.S.from Trinidad when he was nine, and now has five years on the job as an EMT. He long dreamed of becoming a Firefighter, but said he ultimately gravitated to EMS because it included a good representation of people of color.” expressed The Chief-Leader. Some of these people weren’t even in the FDNY EMS, so they don’t have the opportunity to take a promotional exam-let alone being too old to apply for the position. The bill would change that. FDNY Deputy Commissioner for Government Affairs stated that this would also give rank opportunities to people who don’t come from families or neighborhoods that have a trend of this career path.

The bill was made not to take opportunities away from the FDNY EMS, but to give opportunities to the public. However, it is feared that raising the age cap ultimately will funnel more EMS members out to the Firefighter ranks.

For sources and more information, click the article below.

Bill to Raise Age Limit For Firefighters Spurs EMS Unions’ Concerns

Remembering Our Firefighters

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the 23rd Street Fire. A fire which, according to an article on the New York Times website, had killed more firefighters than any other city disaster until 9/11. This anniversary comes in the aftermath of a City still-mourning the late FDNY Battalion Chief Michael Fahy lost is life in the line of fire last month while on duty. He would be the 1,145th firefighter to die as a result of his work. Just this past week, Mayor Bill de Blasio held a service for the late Battalion Chief at the Firemen’s Memorial. Each of these events and many others have been commemorated by monuments, solemn moments of silence, and days of remembrance.

The comradery that comes with such disasters runs thick among these brave individuals who put their lives on the line so others don’t have to. Not just among members of organizations such as the FDNY, but throughout the great City they serve as well. New York City itself seems to serve as a memorial for its fallen service members. It’s more than safe to call this a culture among those who belong to these organizations, or are close to someone in them. Memorial walks, 5k’s, fundraisers, parks, statues, and more are common to see. With a City that has seen so much, how could this not be the case? It warrants both pride and devastation for these brave individuals. To read more about the events mentioned above, please see the articles linked.

FDNY dedicates memorial to Battalion Chief Michael Fahy, killed in Bronx drug house blast: ‘We never forget’

50 Years Later, Recalling a Manhattan Blaze That Killed 12 Firefighters

East Coasts first Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit calls New York home!

In an effort synchronized between the FDNY, Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian and Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is the first and only hospital on the east coast to have a Mobile Treatment Stroke Unit.

“The New York City 911 System via the FDNY will deploy the unit into communities surrounding NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center at East 68th Street and NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center at West 168th Street when a patient is experiencing stroke symptoms.”, states an article linked below posted by NewYork-Presbyterian.

This new unit, abbreviated MSTU, and the medical professionals on it are working in tandem with FDNY EMS members, EMTs, and firefighters. Aiding in this level of immediate medical treatment for such devastating injuries is crucial to preventing long term damage and possible death. Vitals and information are sent from the unit to the hospital before the patient even arrives. On board there are crucial medications, a CT scanner that sends information from the unit to the hospital as it is recorded, and other immensely important supplies for aiding in the care of stroke patients.

MTSU started serving patients last week, beginning on October 3rd.  The method for monitoring successfully recovering patients is already planned out. Information will be gathered to compare and contrast fully recovered patients on the MTSU versus standard Emergency Medical Services. “Researchers will share information with similar units throughout the United States for a larger analysis on best treatment practices for emergency stroke care.”, as quoted from NewYork-Presbyterian.

Roughly 800,000 people a year suffer from strokes or severely damaging stroke related symptoms, such as artery blockage. New York City is proud to be part of taking one of the most recent innovative steps in immediate preventive care. Please see the article from NewYork-Presbyterian below for more information.

NewYork-Presbyterian Collaborates with the FDNY to Launch First Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit on the East Coast