2012 was a busy year for New Rochelle’s professional fire fighters, who responded to over 8,000 emergencies (8,018), a 2.5 percent increase compared to 7,823 emergencies in 2011. While the city experienced a small decrease in structural fires last year (289 in 2011 to 280 structural fires in 2012), in the dozen years since 2000, New Rochelle fire fighter emergencies have soared 30 percent (up from 6,167).
Emergency medical service calls were up 9 percent in 2012 (4,314) over 2011 (3,949) and 28.5 percent higher than occurred in the year 2000 (3,358). Such emergencies include urgent calls for heart attack victims, patients suffering strokes or seizures, mothers in labor, uncontrollable bleeding, stabbings, gunshot wounds, severed or broken limbs and more.
Hazardous Condition calls including gas leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning, downed wires and chemical spills across the city spiked 37 percent since 2011 (from 510 to 699) and were up a staggering 223 percent (up from 314) since the year 2000.
According to the U.S. Census, the City of New Rochelle’s population has grown by 17.5 percent since 1990. Since that time and especially in the last decade New Rochelle has become home to major real estate development projects and high rise complexes, including New Rock City, Avalon on the Sound, Trump Plaza Condos and many more.
“With this population growth and multiple new high density real estate developments the needs and demands of an expanding population must be met,” said Byron Gray, President of the New Rochelle Uniformed Fire Fighters Association.
“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. 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 fire fighters by 7 percent, down to 27 per shift. ” Fire Fighter Gray added.
Modern firefighters train rigorously and are prepared to respond not only to fires, smoke conditions, gas leaks, building collapses, but now to most any type of emergency. This includes medical emergencies, vehicular extractions, nautical emergencies, pre- and post-storm responses to Hurricane Sandy, including dewatering hundreds of buildings and homes and clearing city streets of downed trees.
The NRFD staffs five fire stations across the city and responds to emergencies across the city’s 13.2 square miles. New Rochelle is the 7th most populous city in New York State with a population of over 77,000 residents in addition to being a major transportation hub for Metro North, Amtrak’s busy Northeast corridor, Route 1 and two highly congested interstates, I-95, Route and the Hutchinson River Parkway.