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Mayor Signs Legislation That Aims to Diversify Ranks of FDNY, Requires Ethnic Breakdown of Firefighters at Each Firehouse

Mayor Eric Adams signed legislation today that aims to diversify the ranks of FDNY (Photo courtesy of NYC Council)

Nov. 28, 2022 By Christian Murray

New York City Mayor Eric Adams signed legislation today that requires the FDNY to diversify the ethnic makeup of its ranks and introduce anti-discrimination training.

The mayor signed a package of five bills that aims to increase the recruitment of underrepresented groups within the department. The legislation also requires the department to report the ethnic makeup and gender of all its firefighters—including by firehouse.

“Our FDNY frontline heroes keep our city safe day in and day out, and today we take another step to strengthen and support New York City’s Bravest,” Mayor Adams said. “New York City’s diversity is our strength, and these five bills will help build a more inclusive FDNY that is reflective of the millions of New Yorkers we serve.”

The FDNY, according city council data, is comprised of primarily white non-Hispanic firefighters. The data revealed that 54 percent of firefighters are white,13 percent Hispanic, 7 percent Black, 2 percent Asian and 23 percent are listed as unknown. The data also found that less than 2 percent of firefighters are female.

City Council Data on the makeup of firefighters at the FDNY (NYC Council)

However, the number of whites who apply to be firefighters is significantly higher than any other ethnic group—despite the city’s population becoming more diverse, with non-Hispanic whites making up 30 percent of New York’s population.

The number of white applicants who participated in a key exam to be a firefighter was markedly higher than any other group. For instance, there were 20,288 white applicants who took the computer-based recruitment exam, compared to 12,346 Hispanics, 11,404 Blacks and 2,032 Asians, according to data in the 2022 Firefighters Demographics Report.

Data from the 2022 Firefighters Demographics Report (FDNY)

Council Speaker Adrienne Adams was a strong advocate for the package of bills.

“New York City’s firefighters protect our city and save lives every single day, yet it remains clear that FDNY is not representative of our city’s diversity,” Speaker Adams said in a statement. “I’m proud these new laws passed by the council and signed today help advance the department’s recruitment and retention of women and people of color from all communities as firefighters.”

Speaker Adams sponsored one of the five bills to become law, with her bill requiring the FDNY, in consultation with the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), to develop and implement a plan to recruit and retain individuals from underrepresented populations within the rank of firefighter.

Another bill, sponsored by Councilmember Kevin Riley and signed into law today, requires the FDNY to submit an annual report on the number of employees assigned to each firehouse or special operations unit, broken down by race and gender, as well as the number of individuals who reside within the immediate service area of each fire company, disaggregated by gender and race.

Riley also passed a bill that the mayor signed today requiring the FDNY to develop and implement a plan for providing ongoing training and education to all employees regarding diversity and inclusion, including training on the department’s anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies.

“As co-chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, it is a priority for this city that all legislation passed through the council upholds a true means of diversity and inclusion that seeks to benefit and protect all New Yorkers,” Riley said. “I am honored to stand alongside the mayor and my colleagues at the signing of this legislative package that will transform the lack of diversity and inclusion within the FDNY.”

Meanwhile, Councilmember Nantasha Williams sponsored legislation that Adams signed today that requires the FDNY to submit an annual report on complaints filed with the department’s Equal Employment Opportunity office regarding potential violations of the city’s Equal Employment Opportunity policy.

“After receiving a number of complaints regarding diversity and discrimination in the FDNY, I was proud to sponsor this bill,” Williams said.

Councilmember Joann Ariola sponsored a bill that Adams signed that requires the FDNY to conduct a survey of each firehouse to see which ones need to be upgraded in order to provide the facilitates necessary for a mixed-gender workforce.

Upon completion of the survey, the FDNY will then be required to submit a report on the findings, detailing the upgrades necessary and any construction plans to make such enhancements.

“I am proud to sponsor legislation that will lead to upgrades for our fire houses to have adequate areas for both men and women to tend to their personal needs,” Ariola said. “I will continue to fight for the members of the FDNY in every aspect of their job.”

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23 Comments

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Jesse

Eric Adams’ policy is more reverse racism at work. This will lead to the breakdown of each firehouse unit, decrease their effectiveness, and make the city less safe for people of ALL races.

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Madd Donna

Have any of these leaders actually considered that the reason the FDNY is not diversified to their satisfaction because not that many women or “people of color” actually want to be firemen?? Can’t take the rampant stupidity any longer. And sorry but women menstruate and biologically aren’t made as strong as men so wouldn’t feel as safe seeing a firetruck filled with only females coming to save my life!

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Mitch

My ex was a firefighter. He worked 4 days a week and said firefighters typically responded to car fires. The rest of the time they went door to door handing out violations to homeowners. Good pay and benefits. However, he was too scared to come out. Many of his co workers he said were sexists, homophobic, and racists. He also said many were closeted.

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Anonymous

Your ex sounds like he needs therapy, good luck with that. I’ve owned fives homes in Queens over 35 years and I’ve never had an FDNY inspection much less a violation. So did your ex get kicked off the job for failing a drug test or was there another reason, or is he or she just a figment of your imagination?

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Larry Penner

The late Civil Rights icon Reverend Martin Luther King said “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” He would have never approved of reverse discrimination based on race.
Larry Penner

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Glenn Glenda

Ummm,I don’t know how to tell you this, but:
“Boston University, where King received his Ph. D. in systematic theology, conducted an investigation that found he appropriated and plagiarized major portions of his doctoral thesis from various other authors who wrote about the topic.”
In other words, his words were most likely others words.

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Jesse

So what? Those words still ring true in the hearts of many Americans. We should not be judging ANYBODY on the color of their skin— any attempt to do so is racist.

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Content of character

Which we do. And the content of their character sucks. So what’s the problem? Society is just giving them what they want.

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The Big Apple Circus

Adams has done nothing! Talks tough on crime no action and then a bunch of virtue signaling. 1. This is an infringement of people’s privacy rights. 2. The fdny is open to everyone as it should be but you must not be a felon, pass drug test of course, they take those that score highest on written test and pass the physical test. After that it’s a calling three days living in the fire house three days off with low pay in the beginning for years. God bless them. 3. Hopefully the surpreme court will rule against affirmative action soon because if people start dying because a lesser candidate was chosen because the color of their skin that is messed up.

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Brandon Magoo

you could always sue the city for trillions. it has so much free money to give away. and if not, Joebama Robinette Obiden will just print some more.

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Anonymous

But they will have given their life to further the career of useless politicians, and people that refuse to learn to read (seriously folks, the written test is not difficult) and get into very good physical condition.

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enough already

lets spend another 20 million like we did 10 years ago in going into communities of color and have job training and recruiting workshops in the hope that they will join the Fire Department. which didnt happen. If all men are created equal & can think for themselves then why cant people of color figure out how to join the force whiteout the tax payers having to supplement this as well

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Apolinar LaGrandier2

The reason that the FDNY the greatest firefighting Organization in the world is because Only the best get the job. When you start giving the job to anyone that applies you might as well throw an anchor around it and drop it in the water, On top of Putting the citizens of New York at risk You are also opening up the door to major lawsuits from Members that just would not cut out to be firefighters.

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Srinivas

New York City’s politicians remind me of Don Quixote who fought windmills. That sums up any normal people’s reaction to this story.

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Gnar

I want to see more diversity on the NY Knicks line up. The ethnic makeup should reflect the exact percentages of different ethnicities in NYC.

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JimmyBags

Will similar legislation be passed regarding the New York City Transit Authority? Asking for a friend.

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Anon

The new exam will be given with crayons and follow a Candyland format . No actual reading will be required. In addition the new physical will not require you to actually do anything physical. Preference will be given to those with the highest BMI and highest resting heart rate. If you have a disability that prevents you from taking either test you will just be hired and since you can’t actually perform the duties of a firefighter you will immediately be promoted to Battalion Chief. If these standards are good enough for city council, they should be good enough for the FDNY.

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Anonymous

If ever a group needed to weed out people with gang connections it is corrections, unfortunately not gonna happen

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