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Mayor Bill de Blasio and Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro announced a 17 percent decline in fire deaths in 2015 as compared to 2014 – the second lowest year ever in New York City history.
There were 59 fire deaths in 2015 (down from 71 in 2014) – the second fewest since accurate record-keeping began in 1916. The only year with fewer fire-related deaths was 2012 when 58 people died. The city has now recorded an unprecedented 10 straight years with fewer than 100 fire deaths annually.
“The number one way we measure success in the FDNY is in lives saved, and by that measure we just experienced one of the most successful years ever in our 150-year history,” said Fire Commissioner Nigro. “The continued historic reduction of fire-related deaths in our city is a direct result of the dedication and commitment to duty of every Firefighter, Paramedic, EMT, Fire Marshal, Inspector and civilian in the Department.”
Commissioner Nigro said the Department’s community outreach and fire safety education work in 2015 reached more than 740,000 New Yorkers – a 26% increase over 2014 – at nearly 3,900 different events held throughout the city during the year. At these community-based presentations, in addition to instructing people about safety in the home, firefighters and EMS personnel distributed more than 20,000 smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and 94,000 batteries for use in smoke/co alarms, and trained more than 20,000 New Yorkers to perform life-saving CPR.
While fire deaths neared 2012’s record low – and, for the first time in recorded history New York City did not have a single death during an entire month (June) – one of the worst tragedies in years occurred on March 21, 2015, in Brooklyn when seven children from the same family, ages 7 to 17, died in a home fire on Bedford Avenue in Midwood. In the aftermath of this tragedy, the FDNY spearheaded a two-year smoke alarm giveaway and installation program in partnership with the Mayor, the City Council, the American Red Cross, the FDNY Foundation and device manufacturer Kidde. The goal of the #GetAlarmedNYC campaign is to distribute and install 100,000 smoke/carbon monoxide alarms free to New Yorkers in at risk communities over the next two years.