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NEW YORK — “Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.“Keeping New Yorkers safe from harm is City government’s number one responsibility. That’s why we’ve worked so hard to cut crime – and we’ve driven crime down 36 percent in New York since 2001, with record low numbers of murders and shootings in 2012. But we’re also protecting New Yorkers in other ways, by dramatically reducing the number of New Yorkers killed in fires, and by investing heavily to protect our water quality.
“Last year, New York had the lowest number of fire deaths – 58 – since record-keeping began in 1916. To put that in perspective: We’ve had fewer than 100 fire deaths in a single year only 12 times since 1916, and nine of them were in the last 10 years. That’s a testament to the incredible work of the FDNY – and last week, I joined Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano to announce a new inspection system that will make the City even safer from fires. It enables the FDNY to prioritize building inspections based on risk factors – such as a building’s age and height, whether it has a sprinkler system and its last date of inspection. Buildings with the highest risk get inspected first, and that will help to prevent more fires from happening.
“It’s just the latest example of how our Administration is using data to improve City services – and save lives. On Friday, I congratulated the most diverse class of new firefighters ever in our City as they graduated from the FDNY academy – and I know they’ll help us build on our record-setting fire safety gains.
“We’ve also been hard at work protecting our City’s water supply. Since 2002, we’ve bought and protected more than 125,000 acres of land around the reservoirs that supply our drinking water, and installed more than 470 miles of new water pipes in the City’s network. One of the most important projects for ensuring water safety in the City’s future is the Third Water Tunnel. We’ve committed more funding to the Tunnel than the five previous administrations combined, and we’ll open its Manhattan section this year.
“At the same time, we’ve made investments to improve water treatment, including $1.6 billion to construct the largest ultraviolet disinfection facility in the world. That facility came on-line last year, just ahead of Hurricane Sandy. And it was one reason why New Yorkers could rest assured that our water supply was safe during and after the storm.
“All told, since 2002, we’ve invested some $10.5 billion to protect our drinking water supply. We’ve also invested $9.5 billion to improve how we manage wastewater. That paid off big after Hurricane Sandy too: within three days of the storm, 99 percent of our City’s wastewater was being treated, and we were back to 100 percent within two weeks. That’s much faster than many nearby cities and towns, and it prevented billions of gallons of toxic wastewater from entering our rivers and bays – and that’s one of the reasons our harbors and rivers are cleaner today than they’ve been in a century.
“These critical investments are helping keep New Yorkers safe today – and they’ll continue to keep our City strong and safe for generations to come.