Public Safety


Mike Bloomberg’s investments in the Fire Department helped New York City experience the fewest civilian fire fatalities in an eleven-year period since record keeping began in 1916. Fire and ambulance response times were the fastest in City history.

Fewest civilian fire fatalities
Fewest civilian fire fatalities in an eleven year period since record keeping began in 1916.
Record low fire and ambulance response times
Fire and ambulance response times reached record lows.
Revision of NYC's fire code
Modernized the 911 system
for the first time since it was created in 1968.

Progress: Fire


Fewest Civilian Fire Fatalities on Record: During the years 2002-2012, New York City experienced the fewest civilian fire fatalities on record. No other eleven-year period on record witnessed fewer fire deaths. There was a record low of 58 deaths in 2012 – the fewest in nearly a century of record-keeping (1916).

Less Than 100 Fire Deaths per Year: Nine times in the last ten years – 2002, 2004, and 2006 through 2012 – the City had less than 100 fire deaths per year. Before this period, the most recent year with 100 deaths or less was 1927.


Fire Response Time: Under the Bloomberg administration, the average fire response time remained in line with the record lows recorded since 2009 when the City implemented expedited dispatch protocols and introduced Unified Call Taking, streamlining the 911 system and shaving valuable seconds off response times.

Ambulance Response Time: In 2012, the FDNY’s Emergency Medical Service achieved the fastest ever average ambulance response time of 6:30 seconds despite a 3.4 percent increase in overall call volume – and a record-setting 1.3 million calls handled. More than 43,000 additional calls were received in 2012 compared to 2011.

Four Minute Average: New fire dispatch protocols had a significant impact on dispatch times for fire units. 

Highest Call Volume on Record: With NYC’s population reaching 8.4 million residents and more than 50 million visitors in 2013, FDNY responded to the highest volume of EMS calls in City history.

GPS Technology on City Ambulances: This new technology on city ambulances helped reduce the average response time to nearly 500,000 life-threatening medical emergencies, even as the number of calls for emergency medical assistance reached at an all-time high.


Re-staffing: After losing 343 members on 9/11, followed by record retirements in subsequent years, the FDNY hired 2,475 Firefighters within two years, which restored the size of its firefighting force to pre-9/11 levels.

Major Improvements to Internal and Operational Capabilities post-9/11: Working closely with McKinsey in a comprehensive review of FDNY's 9/11 response, the FDNY:

  • Upgraded its Operations Center to coordinate Incident Command and control throughout the City

  • Instituted effective staging and recall procedures

  • Established mutual-aid agreements with other agencies

  • Expanded planning procedures and scenario-based training

  • Enhanced communications technologies

  • Improved emergency response protocols with other agencies


Specially Trained Firefighters and EMS Personnel: In 2013, there were 3,500 specially trained Firefighters and EMS personnel – more than five times the pre-9/11 staffing level – which dramatically increased FDNY’s capabilities both in responding to and managing large-scale disasters. 

Remote Deployment: FDNY deployed 650 FD personnel to help manage and assist with fire operations in New Orleans for six weeks following Hurricane Katrina in September 2005. FDNY Fire and EMS NY-Task Force 1 members were deployed to Haiti for rescue and recovery efforts in January 2010 following a devastating earthquake.


New Fireboats and Vessels: FDNY revamped its strategy of protection and response for New York’s waterways, through the purchase of three state-of-the-art fireboats and several smaller firefighting and medical vessels. 

Marine Operations Training: More than 5,000 land-based Firefighters were specially trained in marine operations in 2007.


Improved Diversity: The number of minorities serving as firefighters increased by 45% during the Bloomberg administration.


New Initiatives Helping to Save Cardiac Patients: New CPR protocols, SmartCPR and hypothermia therapy – where cold intravenous saline solutions are used to preserve neurological function – led to improved patient outcomes.

Patients Saved: In 2012, 2,350 cardiac patients were resuscitated, 24% more than the prior year, and 58% more than 2010.


Emergency Communications Transformation Project: The Bloomberg administration completely overhauled and modernized the 911 system for the first time since it was created in 1968. This included streamlining the call-taking and dispatch processes and the construction of a second, fully redundant back-up call center.

Outreach: The FDNY developed a new interactive fire safety web site, which included lessons, games and quizzes to help children, adults and seniors learn about fire safety in a creative way.

Fire Safety Education Information Sheets and Coloring Books: Materials were published in 10 languages. Several of the brochures were targeted at groups most-at-risk - including children, seniors and hard to reach, non-English speaking immigrants.

Risk-based Inspections: The Mayor’s Office of Data and Analytics worked with the Department of Buildings and Fire Department to pinpoint buildings most at-risk for fires. This information improved the scheduling of the tens of thousands of building inspections conducted annually.

Illegal Conversions: A multi-agency taskforce was formed by Mayor Bloomberg to identify high-risk illegal conversion and conduct joint agency inspections with the goal of improving access to locations with possible illegal occupancies.


Comprehensive Revision of City’s Code: In 2008, Mayor Bloomberg signed into law the first comprehensive revision of the City’s fire code in nearly a century.


Between 2002 and 2013:

  • 9 new firehouses were built

  • 15 firehouse underwent complete rehabilitations

  • 11 new EMS stations opened