NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The FDNY’s response time has gone up and the firefighters union says part of the problem is a program meant to make New York City streets safer.
It is taking the New York City Fire Department longer to respond to fires and other emergencies, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s latest management report.
But the firefighters union says the mayor is partly to blame because of his Vision Zero program, reports CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez.
“Vision Zero has the best of intentions, Vision Zero is to save pedestrian lives, I understand that, we appreciate that,” said Bobby Eustace of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. “Our problem is that a part of the consequence right there is that our rigs cannot get around.”
De Blasio launched the 10-year Vision Zero initiative in 2014 to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on city streets.
It included several changes to the street landscape meant to control dangerous traffic conditions, like medians and bike lanes – changes firefighters say the city doesn’t give fair warning about.
“It does not get down to the rank and file,” said Eustace. “I am a ladder company chauffer… and I have never been given a report about a new traffic pattern.”
“There are three-lane roads reduced to one lane,” he added.
The Department of Transportation wouldn’t comment on their efforts to inform firehouses of traffic changes.
The mayor’s management report, which analyzes the performance of city agencies, shows response times by the FDNY’s fire companies and paramedics are up in several categories.
Response to structural fires is up eight seconds, from 4 minutes, 20 seconds last year to 4:28.
The average response times of ambulances to life-threatening medical emergencies went up 26 seconds over the past year, from
6:55 to 7:23.
The firefighters union says admits increased private construction and more ride shares vehicles on the road slow them down too.
But they feel there is a simple solution.
“The best thing you can do for the biggest city in the world is increase our staffing,” said Eustace.
The mayor’s management report says there were improvements to the FDNY’s performance. Civilian fire fatalities decreased 30 percent.