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The city's 911 system crashed several times yesterday, forcing responders to resort to pen and paper, creating a backlog of about 200 calls at one point. At least one elderly woman had to wait an hour for an ambulance. The Fire Department says no calls were lost, but were not yet able to explain the crashes. The system has come under fire for repeated failures recently.
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It took an ambulance 31 minutes to respond after a Council intern fainted from heat stroke during a press conference with Christine Quinn. A Jewish volunteer ambulance brought the intern to the hospital before the FNDY ambulance arrived, despite it being a day of fasting. 911 relayed the multiple calls with no issues but was overloaded with nearly a third more calls than normal due to the heat. The incident was originally rated as a medium priority. Quinn, who called Commissioner Kelly for help and met with the FDNY commissioner later about the incident, said the city wasn't prepared for the heatwave and called for an increase in emergency vehicles.
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Testifying at a hearing on the city’s new emergency 911 system, a top official of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration promised a "full investigation" into what caused a delay in responding to a request for help for a girl who died after she was struck by a car.
Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway extended his condolence to the family of the girl and promised the full review as he testified for over three hours at a City Council hearing Friday, where he declared that the $88 million 911 system’s "technology worked."
The parents of 4-year-old Ariel Russo, the girl in question, attended the hearing. Her mother spoke to the press afterwards.
"There is only so much that we, the people of New York City, can actually do without the commitment of elected officials," said Sophia Russo, Ariel's mother. "I call on all New Yorkers to write and call our mayor and members of the City Council, imploring them to fix two major issues here. The first is, we need a law passed which prohibits high-speed police chases in school zones. Second and most importantly, we need to demand that this 911 system be fixed."
Her family has filed a notice of claim against the city and has hired attorney Sanford Rubenstein to represent them.