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EMS Dispatch System Went Down for 20 Minutes Friday, FDNY Says

By  Nicole Bode and Ben Fractenberg | May 31, 2013 6:57pm 

 The EMS dispatch system went down for 20 minutes Friday, May 31, 2013.
The EMS dispatch system went down for 20 minutes Friday, May 31, 2013.
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NEW YORK CITY — One day after the city's brand-new, problem-plagued 911 system went on the fritz, the EMS dispatch system went down for 20 minutes Friday, leaving ambulances across the city temporarily without computer communication access, the fire department said.

The city's EMS system went down on Friday from 12:30 p.m. to a little before 1 p.m., according to fire officials. During that time, responders used conference calls to speak directly with 911 dispatchers, rather than being dispatched via computer.

Fire Department officials said the outage did not impact response times.

The mayor's office confirmed that they had received reports of problems with the EMS dispatch systems Friday afternoon, but officials said the issue was not connected to the city's new $2.1 billion 911 emergency call system, which crashed twice in two days.

"It's not the same as the new NYPD system," said John McCarthy, a spokesman for the Bloomberg administration. "EMS is different from the NYPD iCAD system."

McCarthy added that the EMS system is "not related to the system that's been written about the last couple of days," but he did say that the EMS system is part of the overall 911 dispatch process.

The new 911 system crashed twice since coming online this week, going down for 16 minutes Wednesday during its first full day of operation. It was engineered to handle up to 50,000 calls per hour and was tested for nearly six months.