All news


May 09, 2016

Date: May 9, 2016
Contact: Dennis Gaffney                                                         
518-434-5076 (wk) 518-281-7252 (cell)

For Immediate Release

ALBANY, NY – The City of Albany is going to begin marking certain abandoned buildings to protect first responders during emergencies such as fires at these buildings (see attached photos). The program is a collaboration between the Albany Fire Department and the City’s Department of Buildings and Regulatory Compliance and will protect firefighters and other first responders and  also help preserve the condition of vacant buildings through periodic inspections.

“When it comes to public safety, it’s always people first,” said Albany Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan. “This review of abandoned buildings will help protect the welfare of our selfless first responders, yet also ensure that if anyone is in an abandoned building during a fire or other emergency a rescue will be made. The inspections will also allow us to better track and preserve our City’s vacant housing stock.”

The 2X2 foot building identification signs, which will consist of an “X” inside a red-colored  square, will be placed on buildings that have interior hazards, warning first responders during emergencies such as fires that the building is unsafe to enter. But emergency responders will still enter these buildings if people are believed to be inside one of the designated buildings. 

“The placarding of vacant buildings is a great step forward to ensuring the safety of Albany’s firefighters,” said Albany Fire Department Chief Warren Abriel. “Knowing the condition of building is extremely important to a responding firefighter.”

Firefighters will be reviewing approximately 600-800 abandoned buildings over the next six months to determine which ones are unsafe for entry. Buildings will be inspected twice a year and the identification signs will be updated accordingly.

“These placards are commonly used throughout the country as a way to identify any issues with vacant structures,” said Albany Firefighters Union President Robert Powers, “and help protect the people of Albany as well as the men and women of the Albany Permanent Professional Firefighters Association IAFF Local 2007.”

During inspections, firefighters will determine whether local, state and federal laws that safeguard public health regarding buildings are being complied with, and violators will be cited by the City of Albany Department of Buildings and Regulatory Compliance and brought to Vacant Buildings Court.  

Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association have shown that firefighters are more likely to be injured in abandoned buildings because they can have structural deficits and can lack fire-suppression systems.