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NYC Fire Fatalities Down in 2019 but Medical Emergencies Rise

March 30, 2020 | Michael Barasch

NYC Fire Fatalities Down in 2019 but Medical Emergencies Rise

A sharp reduction in New York City fire deaths during 2019 gives everyone who lives, works or vacations in the city cause to thank the firefighters who keep them safe. At the same time, statistics show a spike in medical emergencies generating an FDNY response, demonstrating how the department’s traditional role has changed.

In 2019, 66 people died in fires throughout the five boroughs, a drop of 25 percent from 2018. The current figure represents a massive drop from the all-time high fire fatality total of 310 recorded in 1970.

Besides the lower death rate, a review of the 2019 data offers information about fire prevention measures and the evolution of the FDNY’s mission, such as the:

  • Effect of fire safety education — According to Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, the department’s campaign to promote fire safety throughout the city has contributed to the reduction in fire deaths. He said that FDNY conducted more than 7,500 educational events during 2019, emphasizing the importance of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Causes of deadly blazes — Understanding what causes lethal blazes is a key element in making the city safer. Out of 66 fires that resulted in deaths, 15 were triggered by electrical problems and 13 resulted from cooking accidents.
  • Increase in medical emergency calls — A 2,300 jump in these calls in 2019 brought the total to 1.53 million: the second highest number in FDNY history. According to department data, more than one-third of those incidents involved life-threatening situations, including heart attacks and individuals who were choking.

The impressive performance of the FDNY never comes easily. Even a call that seems relatively simple poses a risk of serious injury to firefighters. As the men and women in station houses throughout the five boroughs put their lives on the line to protect civilians, everyone in the city is compelled to take the measures necessary to safeguard them whenever possible.

Barasch & McGarry represents New York City firefighters in job-related injury claims and matters arising from 9/11-related illnesses. Please call us at [ln::phone] or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney.

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