FDNY Announces 'Modified Response' Expansion

FDNY Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano announced this week the expansion of the department's "Modified Response" program into Brooklyn and Staten Island.

The expansion follows a reportedly successful pilot program in Queens that reduced accidents involving fire department apparatus by 32 percent since Oct. 4.

Under the new protocol, firefighters will refrain from using lights and sirens for certain non-fire and non-life threatening emergencies, which account for nearly 300,000 of the one million responses that FDNY apparatus make each year. It will not apply for calls reporting fire or any other life-threatening emergency.

The protocol is designed to reduce crashes, as well as keep companies closer to their first-due response areas, reduce fuel and maintenance costs, and decrease noise.

"Firefighters who work in Brooklyn and Staten Island, along with the three million people who reside in those boroughs, will soon benefit from our expansion of this new protocol into their communities," Commissioner Cassano said in a prepared statement.

"With accidents down 32 percent since we began this pilot program six months ago, fewer firefighters and civilians have been injured as a result, even though we're responding to more non-emergency calls than ever before."

According to the press release:

*Currently, calls for water leaks, downed trees, and pulled alarm boxes in the overnight hours with no secondary source of information currently receive a single unit response in emergency mode. Under Modified Response, such calls in Brooklyn and Staten Island will still receive a single unit response, but, as in Queens, that unit will now respond at a reduced speed and obey all traffic regulations, without the use of lights and sirens

*Calls for odors other than smoke (such as gas or fumes), sprinkler and automatic alarms, electrical emergencies, manhole emergencies and other fire alarm systems currently bring up to five units (three Engine companies and two Ladder companies) in emergency mode. Under Modified Response, those calls in Brooklyn and Staten Island, as in Queens, will still receive up to five units, but only the first-due units (one Engine and one Ladder) will respond in emergency mode. The additional units will respond at a reduced speed and obey all traffic regulations, without the use of lights and sirens. Upon arrival, the fire officers from the first due units will evaluate the incident and determine whether the additional units are needed or if they should return to quarters.

*At any time, a fire officer responding to one of the above-mentioned call types can instruct all units to immediately respond in emergency mode based on additional information from dispatchers or by the officer's evaluation on scene.