Report: Retool FDNY to meet EMS demands

The report documents the increased volume of medical calls and the continued allocation of the department's resources to fighting fires

NEW YORK — A recent report takes FDNY to task for allocating its resources to fire suppression at the expense of EMS response, despite decreasing fire calls and increasing medical calls.

In 2014, 75 percent of the 1.2 million calls the FDNY responded to were medical-related, according to the Citizens Budget Commission. Only 5 percent were fire-related incidents.

Since 1998, the number of fire-related incidents has dropped 49 percent. However, the volume of medical emergencies has increased by more than one-third.

Despite these numbers, 71 percent of the department’s $3.8 billion budget is devoted to staffing fire units. EMS operations account for 13 percent of the budget, according to the report.

"The fire department is not well structured to respond efficiently to New York City's current needs," CBC President Carol Kellermann said.

The commission recommended these strategies to better accommodate the demand for medical emergency response.

  • Staff for more efficient ambulance responses by changing ALS ambulance staffing to one paramedic and one EMT.
  • Increase the medical training of firefighters so they can handle more situations without reliance on separate ambulance and its staff.
  • Fundamentally reorganize the department.

"New York city should be leading the nation in design of emergency medical and fire services," CBC co-director of research Charles Brecher said. "Instead, the fire department's structure is behind the times."


Did you know the New York City Fire Department responds to more medical incidents than fires? CBC's latest policy brief...

Posted by Citizens Budget Commission on Wednesday, December 9, 2015

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