NEW YORK (WABC) — New York City firefighters are the latest group to protest Mayor Eric Adams’ across-the-board budget cuts.
Members of the city’s firefighters’ union voiced their strong objections Monday at the union’s headquarters on East 23rd Street in Manhattan.
“Undoubtedly there will be staffing shortages at every single major fire in the city,” said President of the Uniformed Firefighters Association Andrew Ansbro. “This will make surviving even harder if a person a fire if trapped in a fire.”
The FDNY-Uniformed Firefighters Association says house fires increase during the winter months as temperatures drop.
In addition, firefighters say, their jobs have become more dangerous with the elimination of the fifth man from 20 engine companies.
However, the fifth firefighter has long been a fluid position, depending on budgets and who’s running the city.
Mayor Bloomberg cut the fifth firefighter from the remaining 60 engine companies to save money.
Mayor DeBlasio re-staffed 20 engine companies.
And now none of the 193 companies will have a fifth member on an engine.
As per the labor contract, however, the fifth position is not mandatory.
“It’s a contractually negotiated point,” said FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh.
FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh says the firefighters are incredible and doesn’t think New Yorkers will be less safe.
But according to FDNY data, a fifth firefighter helps get water on a fire twice as quickly.
And the union will continue to push for that extra help.
“Money can always be replaced, but a loss life is gone forever,” said Ansbro.
The five percent, across-the-board cuts announced last month have hit every agency, including the NYPD, Sanitation, and the elimination of library Sundays.
Mayor Adams has said the financial burden of housing asylum seekers made the cuts necessary.
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