FDNY underreporting response times, union says

UFA President Steve Cassidy said this trend is troubling.

The city’s firefighter’s union blasted the FDNY Monday for underreporting emergency response times in their public data reports.

The Uniformed Firefighters Association’s white paper, “FDNY @150: Busier than Ever” found that the number of emergency responses shot up about 12% from 519,798 in 2014 to 581,981 last year.

The FDNY’s required reporting for response times claim citywide responses are under five minutes, “the nationally accepted standard,” however the report said more detailed information shows they range anywhere from five to eight minutes.

UFA President Steve Cassidy said this trend is troubling and doesn’t give New Yorkers an accurate picture of how long firefighters have to take to get to a scene.

“If you are trapped in a fire or having a heart attack, those crucial seconds and even minutes of extra waiting can mean the difference between life and death,” he said in a statement.

Under Local Law 119, the city is required to post response times including the entire 911 call on its website, however the UFA contends the FDNY doesn’t include all the details in their reporting, including the time from when first responders get to the curb of a scene to the actual site of the emergency.

The report said Manhattan non-fire emergencies had a response time of about eight minutes, about three and a half minutes higher than what the FDNY reported. Nonstructural fires in the Bronx had a six and a half minute response time, according to the UFA, while for the FDNY reported that it was about four minutes, forty-four seconds.

A FDNY spokesman, said none of that data has ever been kept from the public and reiterated that up to the date “End to End Detail” data is available online.

That data provides more specifics on 911 responses such as the average time for an operator picking up a 911 call, the time that a call goes out to first responders and when time when the first responders call in when they arrive at the scene.

“There is nothing misleading about the city’s transparent and detailed reporting on response times for emergencies,” the department said in a statement.

Cassidy, however, said that the city’s website is hard to navigate and all of that information is buried.

“In order to find the true numbers, a member of the public and media would have to click through to a tab obscurely labeled ‘Local Law 119 Compliance,’” he said in a statement.

Mayor Bill de Blasio called the report inaccurate, during an unrelated news conference Monday, and reiterated that the city constantly monitors the FDNY’s activity.

“That’s coming from a labor organization that did not … look at all the facts. We have been very careful about response times,” he said.

(With Emily Ngo)

Ivan Pereira