Days after a fire ripped through a Midwood home that killed seven siblings, the FDNY said average response times to life threatening emergencies increased to 11 minutes and 7 seconds last month.
Elizabeth Crowley, chair of the Fire and Criminal Justice Committee, called the continually-lagging response times “beyond appalling” during the preliminary budget hearing on Tuesday.
After the hearing, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said winter conditions led to the ambulance delays.
Nigro said during the hearing that the department is adding 45 ambulance tours, 149 emergency dispatch workers and 24 lieutenants to cut down on response times.
The FDNY responded to a record high of 1.3 million emergency calls in 2014. At a hearing last month, the FDNY said the average response time was 6 minutes, 50 seconds, but slower in neighborhoods such as the South Bronx, Western Queens and Staten Island. Mayor Bill de Blasio has included $18 million in his $77.7 preliminary budget to speed up ambulance response times.
Nigro also said during the hearing this year’s class is the “most diverse” in the history of the department, with women and people of color making up 45 percent of the class.
There are 44 women firefighters in the department, and three in the probationary class. Nigro said the numbers will “continue to go up, but will continue to to go up slowly.”
The FDNY’s budget includes a $50 million capital plan to add women’s bathrooms in every firehouse. Nigro said 168 have been added, and the remaining 47 bathrooms will be built by the end of 2016.