FDNY Fixes Faulty 911 Computer System, Officials Say

By Mathew Katz on July 25, 2013 4:57pm 

 FDNY officials said technicians repaired a faulty 911 system on Wednesday night.
FDNY officials said technicians repaired a faulty 911 system on Wednesday night.
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Flickr/Soroll

NEW YORK CITY — The Fire Department said that it repaired its 911 EMS dispatch system after it crashed for 90 minutes Monday.

Technicians that fixed the 30-year-old computer-assisted dispatch (CAD) system — which went down at least nine times starting Monday morning — found that the problem was caused by a "corrupted disc arrays" that have since been replaced, according to the Fire Department.

Disc arrays are essentially pieces that store hardware inside the CAD system, the FDNY explained in an e-mailed statement.

The technicians began to replace the parts and restarted the system on Wednesday night.

"With three servers integrated and in full operation, the EMS CAD system once again has appropriate levels of redundancy in place over multiple sites," the FDNY said.

Both during Monday's outages and during the repairs, all calls were handled by a back-up system, and operators used pencils and paper to take down reports.

During Monday's outage, about 200 calls were backlogged in the system at one point, according to the Uniformed EMS Officers Union Local 3621.

Of the nearly 12,000 calls handled by EMS staff over the past week, 96 percent were handled through the computer-assisted system, the FDNY said.

Monday's outage was the latest in a series of failures in the city's 911 system.

On June 4, a four-minute delay during a shift change slowed the response to 4-year-old Ariel Russo, who was killed after being hit by a car.

On July 12, Ketty Lamarche, 55, died and three others were injured after a delay caused by a 911 operator who stopped to look up an address instead of dispatching a fire reported in The Bronx.

Then, on July 16, an intern for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn collapsed from the heat, forcing Quinn to dial Police Commissioner Ray Kelly from her cell phone during the 31-minute wait for EMS.

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