Part of 911 emergency system crashes three times Monday

Mayor Michael Bloomberg at one of the new 911 call centers in January 2012. Credit: Edward Reed/nycmayorsoffice/Flickr
Mayor Michael Bloomberg at one of the new 911 call centers in January 2012.
Credit: Edward Reed/nycmayorsoffice/Flickr

The city’s 911 emergency system faced another hiccup Monday, with part of the system stalling three times throughout the day.

The EMS computer aid and dispatch system encountered issues, forcing call takers and dispatchers to use pen and paper to take calls, a fire department spokeswoman said.

During the first system stall, which lasted for nearly 30 minutes from 7:38 to 8:09 a.m., about 100 calls were processed using the paper “redundancy” system.

Officials could not say what happened, but workers were running diagnostic tests following the crash.

“We’re still looking into it,” said the spokeswoman, Elisheva Zakheim, who did not know when the department would be able to determine the cause for the crash.

“It’s just this one EMS system, it’s not the whole 911 system,” Zakheim added. “I cannot stress that enough.”

The system was stalled for 45 minutes total Monday, but appeared to be back up and running by the afternoon, officials said.

The recent crashes were isolated to a system from the 1980s scheduled to be upgraded in 2015 as part of a $2 billion modernization of the entire 911 system.

Though Monday’s stall was unrelated, the new system has come under fire since it was installed on May 29, crashing for at least 24 minutes within 24 hours the same day.

Last month, the City Council held an emergency hearing to review reported glitches after the new system was blamed for the delayed response to an Upper West Side crash that killed a four-year-old girl.

Ariel Russo died on June 4 after being struck by an SUV driven by a teen who was fleeing a traffic stop. Her grandmother was also injured in the crash. Roughly eight minutes passed before an ambulance arrived at the scene of the accident.

On July 10, the Department of Investigation launched a probe into the delay, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg previously defended the upgrades to the system.

“You wish you didn’t have bugs, but that’s the real world,” he said at the end of May.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


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