Union Blasts FDNY for Reporting Inaccurate Response Time

NEW YORK (AP) -

The firefighters union says the FDNY is underreporting its emergency response times.

Union head Steve Cassidy blasted the agency on Wednesday for not releasing to the public information that tracks 911 emergency response calls from the moment they are answered by an operator.

He said that over a minute is spent with the 911 operator, according to data of FDNY response time the union analyzed in the last two weeks.

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said the department will soon be able to report total “end-to-end” response time data.

But Cassidy says the agency already collects that data, which was included in the figures it provided to the union.

“They’re not counting the time a 911 caller spends with the 911 operator,” Cassidy said. “The time is significant — over a minute.”

“When the [FDNY] says response times are four minutes for structural fires, the reality is they’re five minutes, if not longer. When they talk about medical emergencies that are five and a half minutes, the reality is they’re closer to seven,” Cassidy said.

The FDNY also conceded that it needs to hire an additional 300 medically trained operators to handle its call volume. NYPD 911 operators, who are the first to answer all emergency calls, face similar understaffing.