NY Daily News – February 02, 2017
by THOMAS TRACY
Five more FDNY engine companies are getting their “fifth man,” officials said Wednesday.
As part of a contract agreement between City Hall and the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the department on Wednesday ensured that five more engine companies — one in each borough — will be getting a fifth man to work on fire engines when responding to fires.
Engine companies to receive the additional help include Engine Co. 5 in the East Village, Engine Co. 50 in Claremont Village, the Bronx, Engine Co. 156 in West Brighton, Staten Island, Engine Company 236 in East New York, Brooklyn and Engine Co. 308 in South Ozone Park, Queens.
Five other engine companies received their fifth man last Feb. 1, officials said.
United Firefighters Association President James Slevin hailed the additional help.
“Increasing the staffing on fire engines will decrease the amount of time to stretch a hose line and put water on the fire which will save lives,” Slevin said. “It’s going to mean less burn injuries for firefighters and make the public safer as well.”
The UFA had been clamoring for a fifth man on fire engines since 2011, when former Mayor Michael Bloomberg pulled the fifth firefighter for the last 60 engine companies that had them as part of a cost-cutting measure.
The union filed an action with the Office of Collective Bargaining, but lost its bid to restore the lost positions.
The city has been tinkering with engine company staffing since 1996 when the union signed a deal granting the city discretion to reduce staffing in engine companies if firefighter medical leave averages increased.
A new deal for a fifth man was struck with the de Blasio administration in the summer of 2015, with the first five engine companies getting the additional help in February, 2016.
Five more engine companies will get a fifth man for their trucks each February until 20 engine companies — four in each borough — receive the additional help.
The FDNY’s own studies show that engine companies equipped with five firefighters can “get water on a fire twice as quickly.”
“This contract continues to be beneficial to all parties, especially those we serve, with additional Firefighters now available to respond to fires and medical emergencies in all five boroughs,” said FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro.