New York City is an area of 322 square miles that is home to about 8.4 million people, 218 fire houses, and more than 10,000 uniformed fire personnel. Each year these professional firefighters work hard to protect the people of New York City from property damage, injury, and death that can occur because of fires and explosions in their homes, vehicles, workplaces, and public places.
Despite their heroic efforts, fires often result in catastrophic outcomes.
Here's What Happened Last Year
In fiscal year 2014, the Fire Department City of New York (FDNY) reported:
- The top five causes of accidental fires investigated by the Bureau of Fire Investigation included:
- Electrical fires (36%)
- Smoking (29%)
- Open flames such as candles or matches (16%)
- Careless cooking (14%)
- Appliances (8%)
- 80 civilians died in fire fatalities.
- 310 civilians were rescued from building fires.
- The average response time to a report of a structural fire was 4 minutes and 8 seconds.
- The FDNY investigated more than 7,200 fires.
- More than 190,000 inspections occurred and more than 8,600 fire safety education presentations occurred to try to prevent New York City fires.
Of course, the statistics only tell part of the story. For each person who suffered an injury or lost a loved one, the true cost of the fire cannot be reported in statistics. Instead, it was a life-changing and tragic event that resulted in significant harm and a different future than the one that was imagined even minutes before the fire or explosion. Thus, it is important to remember the individual lives lost and to support those who have been hurt in these tragic accidents.