Thursday, May 27, 2010

Study: FDNY Saves $3.1B in Property Annually

A study conducted by the FDNY and Columbia University, released this week at a press conference in front of City Hall, shows that local firehouses save $3.1 billion worth of property each year.

“This study shows that the FDNY is the best deal going when it comes to getting bang for your buck,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), who chairs the Fire and Criminal Justice Committee. “As the city negotiates the budget, New Yorkers are getting a two-to-one return on their investment in the fire department.”

The study, completed in 2009 by Columbia University graduate students of the School of International and Public Affairs in close cooperation with high-ranking chiefs of the Fire Department, is intended to show how much money taxpayers will lose by closing even one of the 20 jeopardized fire companies, as proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to balance the city budget. It calculates that the FDNY saves at least $3.1billion in property damage alone, operating on a budget of $1.5 billion.

Crowley notes that the amount saved, divided among the 198 engine companies citywide, shows that each company is responsible for roughly $15.6 million in property saved each year. “If we close even one company, who will pick up the slack for the $15.6 million in property damage?” questioned Crowley. “If we close 20 fire companies, can we afford the $313 million in property damage? The message is clear: we simply cannot afford to reduce our already overstretched fire protection because fires don’t care about budgets.”

Crowley was joined on Wednesday’s press conference by Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Astoria), who chairs the Public Safety Committee, Public Advocate Bill De Blasio, Uniformed Firefighters Association President Steve Cassidy and Uniformed Fire Officer Association President Alexander Hagan.

“This study clearly illustrates that in addition to New York City Firefighters most important job, saving lives,” said Cassidy. “Firefighters save the taxpayers over $3 billion in property damage annually with our ability to quickly respond to and extinguish fires."

"It is precisely in these tough times that our City needs to show what our priorities are,” said de Blasio. “The number one responsibility of government is to keep the public safe - period. The current economic environment obliges us to make tough decisions, but that should mean making sacrifices to preserve public safety, instead of jeopardizing it."

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