Exclusives
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+RSS Feed
Fire EMSEMS TodayEMS Insider

NYC's New 9-1-1 Call Center Adopts Sept. 11 Changes

NEW YORK (AP) — The city's 911 operators are now able to give callers details about emergency events, reversing what the Sept. 11 Commission determined were flaws in a system that a decade ago denied people inside the burning World Trade Center potentially lifesaving information, officials said Thursday.

"Call takers now are given specific information dealing with a particular emergency so that they can transfer that information to callers much more quickly," police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said at the formal launch of a new $680 million 911 call center.

The new technology at the Brooklyn center will put more information into the hands of the 911 call takers, allowing officials to feed them information about an emergency and automatically showing them a map of the location of each caller. It also will prevent the system from getting overloaded in the event of a catastrophe, city officials said.

In 2004, the federal commission, which was created to study the terror attacks and make recommendations designed to prevent future attacks, concluded that on Sept. 11, 2001, the phone system's operators and dispatchers were unaware that fire chiefs were evacuating the doomed twin towers because the city had no way of relaying that information.

As panicked people called 911 seeking guidance on how to escape the burning 110-story buildings, the operators answering the phones were able to offer little help, and some told workers not to evacuate. More than 2,750 people were killed in the attack on the twin towers.

The commission concluded that an unknown number of victims might have had a chance of survival if 911 operators had told them not to flee upward, where some found locked roof doors and no hope of escape.

On Thursday, emergency officials said that the new call center is able to support a queue of 1,900 emergency calls — up from 500 in 2001. New switches mean the center can now receive up to 50,000 calls in an hour — an unheard-of number for a system that sees an average of 30,000 calls per day.

Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway said that since beginning full operations with New York Police Department staffers last month, there already have been improvements.

"It is performing exceptionally, and in fact the number of calls answered in under 10 seconds has gone up by 6 or 7 percent," he said. "The number of overall calls answered in 30 seconds or less is now at 99.9 percent."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that, under the new system, precious seconds will be saved by requiring most callers to speak to only one operator, instead of repeating information to several. That operator will insert information into the computer system and loop in additional people if necessary, rather than transferring callers to different agencies as was previously done.

The opening of the center was delayed by a few years due to what Holloway said had been problems with the new technology, which had frozen and shut down when handling a large number of calls. Holloway said the problems were fixed by the contractor.

A second phase of the project, now expected to reach completion in 2015 and cost $2.1 billion, up from the $1.4 billion initially projected in 2004, will involve building another call center in the Bronx, to be used as a backup in the case of a catastrophe.

___

Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.

___

Samantha Gross can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/samanthagross



RELATED ARTICLES

FERNO's New 'Proof of Concept' Ambulance has the EMS Industry Talking

You'll hear a lot more about this innovative new ambulance interior, so I will just highlight what its most impressive offerings are to me: Interchangable, c...

Washington State Signs Community Paramedicine Bill into Law

With a lot of passion and perseverance, it’s possible to change the history of EMS.

Firefighters Rescue Man Who Wedged Inside Wall to Evade Cops

A central Indiana man who hid inside a wall in his home to avoid arrest had to berescued by firefighters after he became wedged next to its chimney for ...

17 Patients Evaluated After Plane Makes Emergency Landing

SkyWest spokeswoman Marissa Snow said new information from medical personnel confirmed that "a total of three passengers reported a loss of consciousnes...

Nurse Practitioner Now Responding to EMS Calls with Green Valley Fire

The district has started a first of its kind program that brings urgent medical care right into a patient's home.

New WTC Study Focuses on EMS Personnel

New research shows that EMS workers who went to Ground Zero suffer from poor health.

Features by Topic

JEMS Connect

CURRENT DISCUSSIONS

 
 

EMS BLOGS

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

Featured Careers