NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — City firefighters truly earned their title of “New York’s bravest” last year, according to numbers released by the FDNY.

According to the Fire Department, 2011 was the third busiest year for firefighter emergencies in FDNY history. In total, the department says they responded to 488,017 total emergencies last year.

“New York City firefighters are busier now than ever. They continue to be busier than ever before. We are doing more with less and we’re saving more New Yorkers annually than ever before,” Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, told 1010 WINS on Tuesday.

Cassidy noted that while the FDNY has always been recognized as the busiest fire department in the world, the last decade in which the department responded to nearly 5 million emergencies, has set an even higher standard for firefighters.

Still, Cassidy continued to express displeasure with staff reductions, including the elimination of the 5th firefighter from 60 of the city’s engine companies early last year.

“Last year, they cut staffing on engine companies, which directly impacts public safety and firefighter safety. So on top of being busier than ever before, they’ve made cuts that make it even harder for us to do our job and do it quickly and save lives,” he said.

The FDNY responded by saying that it was a very active department, but that its members continue to meet the challenge. Cassidy agrees that firefighters are meeting the challenge, but argues the cuts have made things much more difficult.

“I think firefighters are doing a tremendous job, but in the end, it is all about getting there quickly, getting water on the fire — that is the most important thing we do. Staffing cuts have made that harder and have had a negative impact,” Cassidy said.

How significantly have staffing cuts hit the FDNY?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below…

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