Borough President Eric L. Adams and the Brooklyn delegates of the New York City Council are calling on Mayor De Blasio to allocate funding for a burn unit in Brooklyn.
“If Brooklyn were an independent city, it would be the fourth-largest city in the United States… yet, in a borough of 2.6 million people, there are no burn centers within its borders,” Adams wrote in an open letter to the Mayor, co-signed by the Councilmembers. Adams drew a comparison to Chicago, which has an equivalent population, has two burn centers to treat injured citizens.
“The welfare of Brooklyn’s children and families compel us to act,” said Adams. “Fire prevention education and outreach are critically important, but so is ensuring we have local health care infrastructure that can mean the difference between life and death.” The Borough President cited the four deaths in the Azan family over the holidays as strengthening his resolve and renewing his call for a burn unit.
Additionally, the letter mentioned an uptick in fires across the borough. The FDNY responded to more than 8,000 structure fires in 2017, a slight bump of 2% over 2016, while the number of non-structure fires rose by 12%.
Currently, without a burn unit in Brooklyn, victims are sent to either Columbia-Presbyterian in Manhattan, Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx, or Staten Island University Hospital North. A new burn unit in Brooklyn would cost $14.5 million said a statement from the Borough President’s office, and Adams has already allocated a bit more than $4 million to the effort.
“The importance of building a burn center in Brooklyn cannot be overstated,” said Council Member Eugene. “There have been far too many incidents of structural fires in our neighborhoods for our borough to be lacking in this critical need… We have a moral obligation to ensure that our constituents can receive emergency medical care in a timely manner, and that is why we are urging Mayor de Blasio to support this funding request.”
As all 16 of the Brooklyn Councilmembers lend their voices to the call for City funding, Adams has also partnered with State Senators and Assemblymembers to ask Albany to contribute state funds towards the additional $10 million needed to build-out and run the center.