NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – New Rochelle firefighters responded to more emergency responses in 2012 than any other year since 2000, according to the department. There was also a 322 percent increase in hazardous condition calls since 2000.
New Rochelle firefighters responded to 8,018 emergencies, a 2.5 percent increase compared to 7,823 emergencies responded to in 2011, according to data provided by the department. Since 2000, New Rochelle firefighter emergencies have increased 30 percent, up from 6,167.
Byron Gray, president of the New Rochelle Uniformed Fire Fighters Association, said population growth and multiple new high-density real estate developments such as New Roc City, Avalon and Trump Plaza, have contributed to increased demand and emergency calls in the past 12 years.
“As our city has evolved and expanded, so has the role and demands placed on our firefighters. In New Rochelle we have been put in a position of being forced to provide more services, with unfortunately less resources,” Gray said in a statement. “While it would be natural to think that a growing city would add resources, the reality is that half a decade of public safety cuts has eroded the number of on-duty firefighters by 7 percent, down to 27 per shift.”
New Rochelle is the seventh most populated city in the state with more than 77,000 residents. Since 2000, there was a 6.76 percent increase in population, according to the U.S. Census. The city has grown by 17.5 percent since 1990. The New Rochelle Fire Department staffs five fire stations across the city’s 13.2 square miles.
In 2012, 699 hazardous condition calls, including gas leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning, downed wires and chemical spills, were reported, up 37 percent since 510 were reported in 2011. These types of incidents increased 223 percent since 2000 when just 314 hazardous condition calls were reported.
Emergency medical service calls were up 9 percent in 2012, with 4,314 responses compared to 3,949 in 2011. These calls increased 28.5 percent from 2000 when 3,358 calls were reported. Medical emergencies include urgent calls for heart attack victims, patients suffering strokes or seizures, mothers in labor, uncontrollable bleeding, stabbings, gunshot wounds, and severed or broken limbs.
As for actual fires, there was a slight decrease in structure fires from 289 in 2011 to 280 in 2012. Structure fires are down significantly from 2000 when 373 were reported.