Updated 07/31/2010 05:20 PM
FDNY To Reduce Staff At 60 Engine Companies
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The New York City Fire Department is set to reduce staffing in 60 engine companies from five firefighters to four.
With a summer marked by several intense heat waves, sources tell NY1 that medical leave levels have risen above 7.5 percent in the last 30-day period.
That is the threshold which contractually allows the city to reduce staffing to help control overtime.
It is the fourth time in seven years that the Department will reduce manpower.
The Uniformed Firefighters Association says the city has miscalculated the way it computes medical leave, because the agency does not give firefighters who go home sick in the middle of a tour credit for having worked some portion of their shift.
In a statement, the UFA said, "This miscalculation is further magnified by the FDNY being 300 firefighters under head count and three recent heat waves that took a great physical toll on firefighters working in 100 degree-plus heat. It is a fact that any reductions in engine company manning endangers firefighters and public safety, especially given that the last five years have been the busiest in the 145-year history of the FDNY."
Firefighter staffing is a touchy subject for the firefighters' union.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is hoping the UFA will agree to permanently reduce staffing during firefighter contract negotiations next year, which would bring the city an initial savings of some $8 million.
FDNY officials will next review the medical leave rate on September 1.