UFANYC.org – March 12, 2018
NEW YORK CITY – Today the FDNY announced that the City would once again remove the fifth man from ten engines throughout the five boroughs. Once a mainstay on all fire engines in New York City, the fifth man was removed during the Bloomberg Administration and the most recent agreement between the City and the union only returned the fifth man to ten engines, before the City removed it last December only to subsequently reinstate it weeks later.
Gerard Fitzgerald, President of the UFA issued the following statement in response to this news: “The constant removal and reinstatement of the fifth man endangers not only firefighters, but the residents of New York City they protect. Since 2010, New York City has added half a million new residents and skyscrapers have been rising steadily. To do our jobs effectively we need to enter fires with a full crew. Eliminating the fifth man hampers our ability to respond to fires as they happen.
As the city continues its unprecedented expansion, fires have become increasingly more difficult to respond to because of traffic and construction. What has happened, more often than not, is one-four man engine will arrive to a fire while the second four-man crew is delayed while navigating construction and congestion on New York City’s streets. This endangers residents fleeing a burning structure, and overworks the first four-man crew to arrive on site, who must work with the efficiency of a five-man crew.”
Fitzgerald added: “Firefighters in New York City have been over-run as they respond to fires understaffed. If the city returned to full fifth man staffing, instead of constantly adding and removing these individuals from only ten engines, one-third of all engines would be able to respond to additional emergencies as they occur.”