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FIRE Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano and I recently swore-in 318 new probationary firefighters.

The new class is the most diverse in the Fire Department’s history — 66 percent of the recruits are minority.

The probationary firefighters, known as “probies,” will attend a rigorous training program at the Department’s Fire Academy located on Randall’s Island.

The ceremony was held at the FDNY Fire Academy, where Commissioner Cassano and I congratulated the new probationary firefighters.

We are appointing what is, by far, the most racially and ethnically diverse class ever to begin training as firefighters.

This is, by any measure, an historic day for this department and for our entire city — and you are a true cross-section of New York.

The next four-and-a-half months are going to be challenging — but they’re also going to be extremely rewarding.

Good luck to you all.

Today’s class is the second Fire Department probationary class of 2013 and the most ethnically and racially diverse in FDNY history.

More than 66 percent of the class is minority, including 27 percent African-American, 37 percent Hispanic and two percent Asian.

The class includes eight women — the most women in a Probationary Firefighter class since 1982.

Previously, the most diverse class was May 2013, the first class sworn-in since 2008, when 42 percent of the probationary firefighters were minorities.

Over the next 18 weeks, these new probationary firefighters will be trained at the FDNY Fire Academy.

They will receive advanced training in fire suppression and medical response, including training at the FDNY high-rise fire simulator, subway simulator — featuring actual NYC Transit trains — Hazmat training, collapse and confined space rescue training and auto extrication.

In classroom instruction, they will also be educated on the fire code and building inspection, as well as procedures for engine and ladder operations.

Last year, New York City recorded the lowest number of fire-related deaths — 58 — since record-keeping began in 1916 and closed out the safest decade ever for fire-related incidents.

Since 2002, the city has averaged 85 civilian fire deaths per year, a 41 percent improvement over the previous 10 years, when the city averaged 144 fire deaths per year.

New York City has recorded fewer than 100 fire deaths only 12 times — nine of which occurred during the past 10 years.

This new class of probationary firefighters includes 175 FDNY EMTs and paramedics who passed a promotional exam to the rank of Firefighter, as well as 20 candidates from the open competitive list created from the most recent Firefighter exam in 2012.

More information about joining the FDNY can be found at www.nyc.gov

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