Targeted Outreach to Vulnerable Populations

Bronx, NY – Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson, in partnership with the New York City Fire Department, announces a relaunch of her fire safety education workshop series with a focus on public housing residents, seniors, and other at-risk populations. This announcement comes a week after the 2 -year anniversary of the tragic Twin Parks North West fire that claimed the lives of 17 people, and a series of fires that have followed, including three deadly fires that occurred a few days before the start of the New Year.

“I want to thank the FDNY and our community partners for joining us this winter for the relaunch of our Fire Safety Education Workshop series,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “In the Bronx, we have seen more than our fair share of fires that have led to families being displaced and communities forever changed. We are working strategically to get this potentially life-saving information out to those who need it the most and equip our residents with the tools to keep themselves and their families safe.”

“Fire safety education is critically important to all New Yorkers, as they need to learn and understand the tips that will protect them in the event of a fire. The FDNY is happy to partner with Borough President Gibson on such an important public safety initiative, and we know these workshops will literally save lives,” said New York City Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh.

The office initiated these workshops two years ago with community organizations to combat the rise in residential fires in the borough through fire safety education and awareness. Additionally, the Borough President joined with the American Red Cross for their “Sound the Alarm “Campaign with a PSA emphasizing the importance of a functioning smoke alarm in preventing a potential fire while partnering with them to install smoke alarms, free of charge, in residents’ homes.

The Borough President also joined with Council Member Oswald Feliz in passing Introduction 104-A and 105-A in the New York City Council to strengthen legislation surrounding self-closing doors and presented testimony at a congressional hearing in support of federal legislation sponsored by Congressman Ritchie Torres with Senator Gillibrand to authorize the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) to conduct on-site fire safety investigations of major fires and other under other specified circumstances.

In March of 2023, Congressman Torres also introduced the “Setting Consumer Standards for Lithium-ion Batteries Act” to address the spike in lithium-ion battery fires that increased from 219 in 2022 to 267 in 2023. The legislation requires that the Consumer Products Safety Commission establish a final consumer product safety standard for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used for personal mobility devices.

“Our hearts go out to all those impacted by the recent string of fires we experienced this last holiday season in the Bronx,” said New York City Council Member Oswald Feliz. “The loss of life comes on the heels of the 2nd anniversary of the Twin Parks fire, which was the worst fire in recent New York history. The Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson and I have worked together to strengthen fire safety through legislation that enforces self-closing door policies – to ensure another similar tragedy never happens again. But there are still many steps that must be taken to protect New Yorkers from these fires. This is why I am proud to work with and support the Borough President’s fire safety education workshop series, where fire safety education, fire alarms, and alarm installation services will be provided to residents of the Bronx.”

“Too many lives have been needlessly lost to preventable fires in the Bronx. From the Twin Parks North fire to Belmont, it’s become inescapably clear that we need to do targeted outreach to vulnerable populations like seniors and residents of public housing,” said U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “Fire safety must be a shared responsibility, and these workshops play a crucial role in empowering individuals to protect themselves and their neighbors. I applaud Borough President Gibson for her leadership in addressing this urgent issue and working to ensure the well-being of Bronx residents.”

The Borough President`s office is urging anyone interested in finding out more about the Bronx Fire Safety Education Workshop series or interested in scheduling one in their community to call the Office of the Bronx Borough President at (718) 590-3500. To get a fire alarm installed in your apartment, home or at your workplace, free of charge, call (877) RED-CROSS (option 5).