Emergency! New 911 system isn’t working
by Andrew Pavia
Jul 10, 2013 | 4967 views | 0 0 comments | 229 229 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley holding a rally highlighting the flaws in the 911 system during Hurricane Sandy.
Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley holding a rally highlighting the flaws in the 911 system during Hurricane Sandy.
Following Hurricane Sandy, concerns were raised that there were problems with the new $88 million computer-aided 911 call system, Intergraph Computer Aided Dispatch known as I/CAD.

Those glitches came back into the public eye when officials admitted to losing a call that could have potentially saved the life of four-year-old Ariel Russo, who was struck by a car in Manhattan on June 4.

In released internal email exchange between EMS workers days after the accident, they wrote that roughly one-third of all incidents transmitted from I/CAD were either lost or transmitted without complete addresses.

One of the emails was sent by Lt. Carl Nunziata, an overnight shift boss who was contracting Clara Muprhy, head of computer programming for EMS.

He wrote, “Why are these jobs coming in this way and what are we supposed to do with these type of jobs?”

The new system is responsible for processing and sending out roughly 3,000 emergency crews a day.

“We need to know when they call 911, help is on the way,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley. “There are serious concerns about the city’s 911 upgrade, and New Yorkers deserve the truth about the system and how the administration is working to improve it.”

Crowley sent a letter to Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway requesting a face-to-face meeting with him to discuss the issue.

Following Susperstorm Sandy, Crowley grilled Holloway about incidents where emergency crews were sent to the wrong addresses. Holloway responded that the system is functional, however it became inundated with phone calls making it difficult to keep track of the information.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has also been an advocate of the system, claiming that while it has “bugs” it works.

“We need to get to the bottom of this immediately,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio after the emails were mad public. “City Hall, NYPD and the FDNY have denied problems every step of the way, and we cannot expect their own investigation to unearth truth.”

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