Using data to fight fires in New York

In the past, we have discussed the importance of using data and analytical equipment to organize and plan a Smart City.

Now we would like to share the story of what is happening in New York, where the city´s council has instituted a strategic planning department with a team of analysts. The department’s director, Mike Flowers, received a governmental award for innovation in September. His accomplishments are nothing short of impressive.

New York City has to contend with around 2,000 fires each year, chiefly because of illegal modifications to dwellings. These modifications enable landlords to rent the property to more people, but safety is often compromised in the process. Compounding the issue is the fact that here are not enough inspectors to ensure the safety of everyone.

To combat this issue, the department analyzed data such as payment delinquency, foreclosures, the year of construction and socioeconomic data of the neighborhood. The plan worked, helping inspectors hone in on the places most at risk. In the past, inspectors found problems in 13 percent of dwellings, but this process has caused the figure to reach 80 percent.

The same methodology has been applied to accident data in order to better position inactive ambulances, reducing the amount of time lost in transit when an accident occurs and thus saving more lives.


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