New York City Fire Department personnel are expected to answer a record 1.6 million emergency calls during 2014.

FDNY Setting Record in 2014: 1.6 Million Emergency Calls

The department announced that gas emergencies rose by 68 percent, while fires and fire deaths remain at historic lows.

New York City Fire Department personnel will respond to more than 1.6 million emergency calls during 2014, which is the highest total in a single year in the department's 149-year history, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro announced. The previous record high was 1.575 million emergency calls in 2012. They said fire responses are up 9 percent this year, largely due to an increase in reported gas emergencies, and emergency medical service calls rose by 3 percent—continuing a nearly 20-year trend in rising EMS responses citywide.

"Today, our city's fire department marks an important achievement—we're on track toward responding to the highest number of emergencies in its history," said Mayor de Blasio. "Our firefighters and emergency personnel are heroes that rise to the challenge every time—and this year, fires and fire fatalities remain at historic lows. This serves as testament to the skill and commitment of the men and women of the FDNY to help their fellow New Yorkers when they need it most. It takes a special kind of person to run toward fire, instead of away from it, but that's what New York's bravest do on a daily basis. We commend your accomplishment and we roll up our sleeves to perform even better next year for New Yorkers in every neighborhood."

"Responding to more calls for help than ever before is a challenge for our firefighters, EMTs and paramedics, but they once again rose to the challenge this year to help New Yorkers in need," Nigro said. "In each instance the men and women of the FDNY responded with courage and compassion to provide life-saving emergency care to people who were sick, injured or endangered—and as a result saved many lives."

As of Dec. 14, FDNY personnel had responded to 43,692 gas emergencies—68 percent more than the 26,024 during 2013. They said this jump came "largely from heightened concern and awareness following the explosion in East Harlem on March 12 that killed eight people." Afterward, de Blasio and Nigro urged New Yorkers to call 911 and report any suspected gas leak.

Fire deaths through Dec. 14 in the city totaled 68, including the eight East Harlem explosion victims. By comparison, there were 67 deaths in 2013, 58 in 2012, 66 in 2011, and 62 in 2010. The record high for fire deaths in the city, 310, was in 1970. Serious fires (one alarm and higher) are up 2 percent, to 2,380 as of Dec. 14, from 2,333 in 2013, 2,549 in 2012, 2,504 in 2011, and 2,573 in 2010. Total EMS responses through Dec. 14 were 1,289,854, up 3 percent from 1,249,530 during 2013.

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