New York City Vs. Westchester & Nassau

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This thought came to me after reading about the run survey and business of departments. Here is what I can’t seem to figure out. I have no numbers to back this up, but it seems as if structure fires drop dramatically once you pass over the county lines into Westchester and Nassau Counties. Yet driving on the streets from the Bronx into Mt. Vernon or Yonkers it’s difficult to know when you’ve crossed the line. It looks similar. The same when you drive from Queens into Nassau.

Yet, I am almost certain just by intuition that FDNY gets more structure fires per capita than, what appear to be, the same border areas. FDNY runs with 5 on most engines and 6 on ladders, where as Yonkers has 4 per piece, Mount Vernon even less, and it’s volunteer on Long Island! But my hunch tells me that E63/L39 and E66/L61 do a lot more fires than even the busiest Yonkers or Mount Vernon companies (I do realize that even those cities have their share of fires). I’m also guessing that E304/L162 and E317/L165 do a lot more fires than most, if not all, of the volunteer companies.

I understand northern Westchester County is a lot slower, as is Suffolk County, but what seems to be the reason for such a drop off once you hit the city line, per capita? Perhaps someone has solid numbers and there isn’t a big difference. Hmm….
 

Lebby

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I'd guess it's not quite a dramatic drop, but more so a gradual drop as your cross the borders. Most likely having to do with density, socioeconomic status, zoning, etc. But, like you I have no hard numbers to back this up.
 
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I'd guess it's not quite a dramatic drop, but more so a gradual drop as your cross the borders. Most likely having to do with density, socioeconomic status, zoning, etc. But, like you I have no hard numbers to back this up.
Thanks, Lebby.

It really is a dichotomy when you think about one of the best staffed, if not the best staffed apparatus, in the country and how it backs up to 100% volunteer territory!
 

mack

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Not only more fires, but large cities like NYC have more crime, more murders, more violence, more problems in schools, more homelessness, more garbage, older buildings, poorer infrastructure, etc. compared to suburbs and outlaying areas. And yes, more fires, emergencies, Hazmat incidents, EMS calls.
 
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Not only more fires, but large cities like NYC have more crime, more murders, more violence, more problems in schools, more homelessness, more garbage, older buildings, poorer infrastructure, etc. compared to suburbs and outlaying areas. And yes, more fires, emergencies, Hazmat incidents, EMS calls.
Other good points 👍
 

raybrag

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Long Beach and Garden City both have paid departments augmented by volleys. There may be more.
 

3511

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It is simply a matter of population density. The more people the more incidents of crime, fire,, etc. There are other contributing factors that lead to the conditions Mack pointed out.

But the bottom line is density. Chart the FDNY R&Ws since they began publishing them in which ever format in the 19th Century.
 

t123ken

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I've always thought it's similar to Brooklyn and Queens.
For example, how much of Battalion 28's running is in Brooklyn vs. Queens, although they're only a little over one block from Queens?
 

GFD70

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The FDNY does a much better job of documenting their jobs by tracking and publishing not just run numbers but also All Hands fires. Take the Li-Ion battery fires over the past year or so for example. In the past some of the smaller e-bike fires probably wouldn't have made it to the board here, but now catch our attention because of the additional units assigned on the All Hands. With that said, I'm still surprised that the 'burbs haven't seen the rash of battery fires that NYC has had, but I suspect it's not too far off from hitting us. The FDNY seems to have been calling the All Hands more frequently on smaller jobs. In this day and age where politicians want to "Defund" public safety, you have to make sure you protect yourselves by documenting everything that you do. After all, that's what the logbook is there for.

I think that the 'burbs could do a much better job in tracking the work we get even when its relatively minor as a way to prove our success as well as to plead our case for better staffing, training and equipment. While it's all documented in our NFIR reports, few departments publish their run numbers the way the city does. Some places have embraced social media to post some of their jobs even if just to point out how they stopped something small from taking off.

Arguably it's a lot tougher to be a suburban firefighter where you have to excel at everything rather than mastering the skills of whatever company you're assigned to (engine/truck/rescue). The trade-off is the call volume and the ability to gain experience. For example, my department (running from a single house) averages around 1,200 -1,400 runs with no defined 2nd and 3rd due response area. Instead, we get called to our neighbors based on the incident type. We were once told that if the departments in our area merged and formed a regional department, our runs would at least double.

On a side note, as a "small town" department, we recently had a member transfer in from a neighboring small city. Guys from his old job told him he'd never see fire again and yet caught 2 jobs in his first week and several more since. Go figure.
 
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Thanks for responding everyone. A lot of good points shared.

One thing I believe is that smaller departments should do away with any additional responses to Working Fires. Instead, if they need station coverage they transmit the Working Fire. IF they need more apparatus to the scene after the initial response, call it a 2nd alarm.

Why? Because the bean counters and the general public can better understand what a 2nd alarm is. So when the chief goes in front of the budget committee, he can state we had 13 - 2nd Alarm fires, 2 - 3rd Alarms, 1 - 4th Alarm.

In my opinion it’s not “smoke & mirrors”, it’s just an easier way, without causing confusion, to get the point across that there are fires!!
 

entropychaser

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It is simply a matter of population density. The more people the more incidents of crime, fire,, etc. There are other contributing factors that lead to the conditions Mack pointed out.

But the bottom line is density. Chart the FDNY R&Ws since they began publishing them in which ever format in the 19th Century.
Brooklyn is the Borough of Fire and the United States is the Country of Fire. There are lots of cities in the world with equal density and poverty as NYC and nowhere near the demand for fire services, Think Hong Kong, Mexico City (12 stations), Delhi (61 stations, 22,000 calls/year, population 18.98 million in 2012), Tokyo (although there was a huge fire service demand in March, 1945), and Santiago (22 stations, all volunteer, population 5.6 million).
 

3511

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Brooklyn is the Borough of Fire and the United States is the Country of Fire. There are lots of cities in the world with equal density and poverty as NYC and nowhere near the demand for fire services, Think Hong Kong, Mexico City (12 stations), Delhi (61 stations, 22,000 calls/year, population 18.98 million in 2012), Tokyo (although there was a huge fire service demand in March, 1945), and Santiago (22 stations, all volunteer, population 5.6 million).
Density, the concept is density, meaured in number of people per square mile, not total population of a particular city. Track where the most people are crammed in and that's where you will find the most fire activity. Try it for Brooklyn over the years.
 

entropychaser

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Lol! I am very familiar with the concept and definition of density, I agree that more people in a given area equals more fires just as the circadian cycle produces more work in the afternoon than dawn.

Let's compare Brooklyn and Delhi:
Brooklyn- 2.577 million people (2020) in 69.5 square miles = 37,079 people/square mile

Delhi- 18.98 million people (2012) in 573 square miles = 33,124 people/square mile

The estimated Delhi 2022 population is 19.3 million people. So, the population density for the two areas is roughly the same.

Total alarms 2019: Brooklyn 170,184
Delhi 31,157

My point is that a significant cause of busy fire companies is cultural. Great to be number one, not so great for society. Or, to torture the math even more, that's one alarm for every 15 people in Brooklyn and one for every 609 people in Delhi per annum.
 
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ta176

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When travelling from Long Island, Nassau & Suffolk, to the City as soon as the road was full of potholes I knew I was in Queens. Now with the 25 miles per hour you really know you left civilization and are in the City. Who knows were the schools are and the speed cameras. Big Brother is watching everything.
 

3511

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Lol! I am very familiar with the concept and definition of density, I agree that more people in a given area equals more fires just as the circadian cycle produces more work in the afternoon than dawn.

Let's compare Brooklyn and Delhi:
Brooklyn- 2.577 million people (2020) in 69.5 square miles = 37,079 people/square mile

Delhi- 18.98 million people (2012) in 573 square miles = 33,124 people/square mile

The estimated Delhi 2022 population is 19.3 million people. So, the population density for the two areas is roughly the same.

Total alarms 2019: Brooklyn 170,184
Delhi 31,157

My point is that a significant cause of busy fire companies is cultural. Great to be number one, not so great for society. Or, to torture the math even more, that's one alarm for every 15 people in Brooklyn and one for every 609 people in Delhi per annum.
Why don't you compare the densest sections of Brooklyn (where historically all the fire activity is) to those in Delhi. Apples to apples.
 
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