NEW YORK (PIX11) — It’s a distinction no one wants. Data released by the Firefighters Association of the State of New York (FASNY) shows New York state is No. 1 in the country when it comes to fire deaths.
So far in 2023, 45 people died in fires in New York state, as compared to 29 in Indiana and 25 in Pennsylvania and Georgia. Why are there more fatal fires in New York? FASNY secretary John D’Alessandro told PIX11 News there are a number of factors.
“No. 1, New York has a large population. No. 2, much of that population is in dense, urban areas. And No. 3, those areas have old building stock,” D’Alessandro said.
The FASNY represents 80,000 volunteer firefighters statewide. The association is now pushing Albany lawmakers to adopt at least two pieces of legislation this fiscal year. One would take the money from fees collected by fire insurance companies to fund local municipalities to do extra building inspections and fire code enforcement. The other piece of legislation would eliminate the sales tax in October on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers.
As for the growing problem of lithium-ion battery fires, D’Alessandro said that one is mostly up to residents to take action. D’Alessandro said to never charge multiple lithium-ion batteries in the same outlet, and “if you have to buy a replacement battery, get one that is tested by a reputable laboratory like Underwriters Lab. If you have to have repairs done, don’t take it to your friend down the street.”
PIX11 News reached out to the FDNY about these firefighters association’s proposal. A spokeswoman said the FDNY will review the legislation.
The FDNY in recent months has also launched an all-out social media campaign to get the word out about the danger of lithium-ion batteries.