As early as next week, the Fire Department might stop assigning a fifth firefighter to the 15 engine companies that had the extra help.
The vast majority of the department’s fire engines are staffed with four firefighters.
Under its contract with Uniformed Firefighters’ Association, the FDNY can eliminate the additional firefighter if the absence rate over a year-long period exceeds 7.5 percent. It is currently at 7.5053 percent.
City Councilman Joe Borelli (R-S.I.), who chairs the Fire and Emergency Management Committee, said the city shouldn’t be cutting engine-company staffing over mere fractions of a percent.
“This .0053% is not worth jeopardizing the safety of thousands of firefighters,” said Borelli. “It’s putting people in danger for BS.”
The FDNY initially confirmed the 15 engine companies would be down a firefighter effective Friday because the “medical-leave rate” had “again” exceeded the 7.5 percent threshold specified in the UFA’s contact.
However, FDNY spokesman Francis Gribbon offered an “update” hours later, saying by email that the department “is going to give it a few more days and see how the medical leave is trending” before taking action.
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