State Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-60th, announced Tuesday that the Senate has passed his bill, S.7677, which requires cities or other employers of firefighters to identify if a firefighter will be exposed to entrapment's at higher levels, identify if those firefighters will be exposed to fire, and determine the appropriate escape system.
The bill will provide the firefighter community with the latitude to effectively respond to the needs of their locality, to consider appropriate alternatives, and to provide communities with the flexibility to outfit their firefighters with the equipment that best suits their unique needs.
Present law has inadvertently prevented the firefighting community from using equipment generally recognized to be acceptable, because it was not covered in the most recent edition of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1983 standard on fire service life safety rope and system components.
"Today, the Senate took action to help protect the lives of firefighters across New York state as they fight to save the lives of people in their community," Grisanti said. "This bill will allow firefighters to keep pace with advancements in technology and allow them to carry certain standard equipment to be used during a self rescue escape.
"It is really important that fire departments in jurisdictions where high-rise fires are likely to occur provide all firefighters with escape ropes and the appropriate training to utilize their ropes during emergencies. I hope that this new law will save lives."
In January of 2005, two firefighters were killed and four others were badly injured when they were forced to jump from a fourth-floor window of a burning building in the Bronx. This day, known as "Black Sunday" also saw a third firefighter die while fighting a basement fire in Brooklyn, and then another die in a different location in the Bronx.
An internal FDNY report found that among other things there was a failure to provide escape ropes, failure to update operational procedures and inadequate training.
According to NFPA, "the fire department shall provide each member with appropriate protective clothing and protective equipment to provide protection from the hazards to which the member is or is likely be exposed."