NYC's Emergency Response Times Increase for Second Year
by Chana Weinman
The average response times of New York City's first responders are slowing down for the second year in a row when it comes to arriving at emergencies.
According to the Fiscal 2023 Mayor's Management Report, which was released last Friday. The average response time for New York City fire companies is now 9 minutes and 23 seconds. At the same time, civilian fire deaths have increased from 92 to 102, an increase of 10.8%.
According to the FDNY, the increase in civilian fire deaths is a result of the increased lithium-ion battery fires, as battery fires have surpassed electrical fires as the top cause of fire deaths over the past year.
Life-threatening medical emergency calls have also increased, according to the new report. In 2022, there were 564,412 medical emergency calls, while this last fiscal year, the number moved up to 605,140,
The average for agency ambulances is now 10 minutes and 43 seconds, reflecting an increase over the previous year in how long it takes to arrive at the scene of an emergency. The new numbers for medical emergency response time reflect even slower timing than the start of the pandemic in 2020 when emergency responders were overwhelmed with covid emergencies.
And while major crime continues to rise during Mayor Eric Adams' first full fiscal year in office, the report reflects that the NYPD response times have slowed across the board as well.
"We're on the brink of costing people's lives if things don't change," the New York Post quoted Oren Barzilay, president of Local 2507, the union representing more than 4,100 rank-and-file city emergency medical technicians and paramedics.
The Post also reported that Barzilay said he didn't expect much improvement in response times. One reason he gave was the 110,000 illegal immigrants flooding the City, with thousands more arriving each week, draining City resources. His second reason was the fact that the City is closing off more streets and driving lanes and adding more bike lanes in its continued "anti-car agenda".
"[Unless] the City and State take EMS seriously as an essential service, we're going to see a total collapse of the system," he added.