NYC wants to deactivate street fire alarm boxes

March 10, 2010 9:30:55 AM PST
The Fire Department is preparing to deactivate its street alarm boxes throughout New York City as a way to save money. Mayor Michael Bloomberg included the idea in his January budget proposal.

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano told the City Council on Wednesday that it would save $6 million in the first fiscal year.

He says the move was attempted in the 1990s. But it was thwarted by those who argued people with disabilities needed alarm boxes to call 911. They got a court injunction to stop it.

The fire commissioner says technological gains like mobile phones have eliminated that concern.

The city would have to convince the court that blind and deaf people have other means to report fires.