NEW YORK — New York's bravest were New York's busiest in 2012.
By the end of 2012, the FDNY expects to have responded to an estimated 495,000 calls — up from 488,000 in 2011 — making it the second busiest year on record, according to the Uniformed Firefighters Association.
The FDNY's busiest year in its 148-year-history was 2010, when firefighters responded to a whopping 507,017 calls. In 2007, the FDNY fielded 490,767 calls.
UFA President Steve Cassidy said he believes that the increase was the result of a growing city population, although he noted that more and more non-fire-related emergencies are being assigned to the Fire Department.
"Whether it's a crane crashing into a building or people trapped on scaffolding or having a heart attack, New York's bravest will be there," he said.
In fact, most of the FDNY's responses in 2012 were for non-fire emergencies, officials said. The exact breakdown was not yet available.
In 2011, the FDNY responded to 216,083 medical emergency and 206,798 other non-fire emergencies compared to just over 41,000 fire emergencies and 24,000 "malicious" false alarms, records show.
Cassidy added that the FDNY has been accomplishing the response rate despite a shrinking workforce. The department has seen repeated staff cuts throughout the last decade, including the elimination of firefighters from 60 of the City's busiest engine companies in the beginning of 2011, he said in a statement.
"I think the public recognizes that if they dial 911, we'll be there within four minutes," he added.