Improved regulations will ensure safety of firefighters and emergency responders
First comprehensive revision of fire code in nearly 100 years

City Hall, May 28, 2008 – At today’s Stated Council meeting, the City Council will vote on legislation to improve and enhance current fire safety regulations by adopting more modern and comprehensive fire safety regulations. The enhanced fire code will improve public safety, protect New York City firefighters and emergency responders.

The legislation voted on today is more comprehensive and detailed than the existing Fire Prevention Code. With this legislation, New York City will join a growing number of states and municipalities across the country that have adopted fire codes based on the International Fire Code, a national organization of municipal code officials. The changes come after an extensive three-year Fire Code revision project to review and update fire safety standards throughout the City.

“Firefighters and emergency personnel have one of the most dangerous jobs around,” said Speaker Quinn. “Each and every day, they selflessly risk their lives trying to save ours. It is only fitting and imperative that we have the most current and comprehensive fire code possible. We want to take every step to protect our Bravest while also protecting the safety of our residents. Today’s legislation accomplishes just that.”

“This is an historic reform of the Fire Code that takes into account fire prevention and fire safety,” said Council Member Miguel Martinez, Chair of the Fire and Criminal Justice Services Committee. “The revisions made to the Code will keep New York City at the forefront of fire safety.”

The new, improved Fire Code will:

Require more informative fire safety and evacuation plans. The requirement for the plans and for staff training will be extended to include mercantile and assembly occupancies;
Require the development of a fire safety program on construction sites and projects. A fire safety manager will be responsible for ensuring compliance with fire safety requirements;
Include a provision for rooftop access and elimination of rooftop obstructions. Additionally, firefighter access roads will be required in private developments; and
Clarify the existing requirement that fire safety systems in temporarily unoccupied buildings be maintained.
The Council will also vote on a budget modification to the Fiscal Year ’08 budget, which was adopted last June. The modification consists of several technical changes, including listing funding under revised corresponding agencies.

“This budget modification is necessary to ensure we fully recognize additional revenues and implement necessary agency changes for the fiscal year about to end,” said David Weprin, Chair of the Finance Committee.

According to the City Charter, any time there is a transfer of funds between agencies, a budget modification is required. The budget modification reflects changes to the administration revenue estimates, including an additional $2.2 billion in tax revenues above what was projected at the time the budget was adopted in June, a 6 percent increase. The additional funds will be used for early retirement of outstanding city debt, which will provide fiscal benefits in 2009 and 2010, and to roll surplus 2008 revenues in order to balance the 2009 budget. The Council will also approve the third in a series of resolutions amending allocations made in the June budget.

The Council will vote to approve another step in the City’s effort to handle solid municipal waste in a more efficient and sustainable way by authorizing Sims Recycling to lease the 30 Street Pier at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal.

“Any effective waste management plan for our city must include recycling as a key component,” said Council Member Jessica Lappin, Chair of the Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses Committee. It’s great to see the city making a long-term commitment to recycling and doing so in a way that takes trucks off our streets.”

“Since long before I took office, I have concentrated on the revitalization of Brooklyn’s working waterfront and this is an important step forward in that effort as well as an integral advancement for the Solid Waste Management Plan,” said Council Member Sara Gonzalez. The environmental educational center, the local hiring preference agreement for much needed jobs and the creation of a community advisory board were major factors in our successful negotiations. I want to thank Speaker Quinn, as well as my colleagues at the Council. Throughout the three-year period of intensive negotiations, everyone offered important contributions throughout the process.”

The facility, which will include over 1 million square feet of pier and water space, will allow Sims to receive and recycle all glass, steel, plastic and commingled paper derived by the Department of Sanitation’s curb pick-up service. The materials will be brought to the station by barges, reducing the city’s dependency on automotive transportation of recyclable materials.

Speaker Christine C. Quinn, together with Council Members James Gennaro, Simcha Felder, David Yassky, Leroy Comrie and Thomas White, today introduced legislation that will transform and modernize the Environmental Control Board (ECB), making it both fairer and more efficient.