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Fires aside, 8 ways the FDNY serves our community
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Fires are a small percentage of what the FDNY responds to

If there’s smoke and flames, the FDNY will come with sirens blazing and hoses ready to go.

But the city Fire Department responds to much more than fires. Scroll through the slideshow to see what other emergencies the FDNY handles. 


Medical assistance

If there’s a call of an individual who is having a medical emergency, difficulty breathing, for example, a fire engine will likely respond along with an ambulance, explained Jim Long, spokesman for the FDNY. 

Firefighters are trained in life-saving medical techniques and can aid patients until an ambulance arrives. 


Are medical calls frequent?

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, two out of three calls are for medical emergencies, not fires.


Utility emergencies: Water, gas, electrical, steam

The FDNY spokesman explained that the type of utility emergency will determine the FDNY's response. 

A ladder company will initially respond to a water emergency and assess the scene to determine if more resources are needed.

"Due to the potential severity of a gas emergency you'll get a full assignment," Long said. A full assignment is when two engine companies, two ladder companies and a battalion chief respond. The first to arrive on scene will assess the severity and can communicate to other responders en-route to gage the response. 

An electrical emergency gets a "one-and-one response," or one engine and truck. 


Fire alarms

Smoke from a fire isn't the only thing that could set off a fire alarm, especially in non-residential buildings. 

Construction inside of a building can cause a significant amount of dust, or plumbers could be "sweating the pipes" -- joining pipes with a solder -- which could unintentionally activate an alarm, Long said. 

"Some people don't even realize the alarm has been triggered," he said. 

Non-functioning alarms and alarm system tests can also trigger an FDNY response.


Hospitals receive large responses

Due to the vulnerable population of the building, an alarm call from a hospital will get a full response, Long said. 

Staten Island Advance photo

Motor vehicle accidents

Engine and ladder companies will both respond to an accident to confirm and assess any injuries. 


Malicious false alarms

A malicious false alarm is just that -- intentionally doing it to get the Fire Department to respond knowing there is no emergency. And it's a serious criminal offense that could result in a fine in the thousands or even jail for repeated offenses.

"Sometimes we go on calls for a reported condition, get there and we can't locate the condition that was reported," Long said.

What about cats stuck in trees?

"We don't necessarily respond to cats stuck in trees," Long said. "Although we have helped people in that situation -- but it's not something that's in our training matrix."

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