The firefighters union lashed out at the FDNY yesterday after the agency announced cuts to staff at 49 of the city’s 194 engine companies starting today.


The move follows a medical absentee rate of 7.53 percent, which costs the city overtime, the FDNY said. The switch from five to four firefighters won’t alter the response time of four minutes and 1 second, the FDNY said.


“Everything is based on the premise that they can say that ‘we lowered response times,’” said Uniformed Firefighters Association president Stephen Cassidy. “But they continue to lie about response times.”


A new 911 system has slowed responses, and cuts put firefighters and the public at risk, he said.