City report cited issues with 911 call system over a year ago

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NEW YORK (PIX11)– In 2011, the city of New York paid 500,000 dollars to Virginia based Winbourne & Costa, a consulting company hired to look into the city’s overhaul of the 911 system and how it processes calls.

In particular looking at what’s known as UCT, or unified call taker.

While the report does say, “correctly employed the UCT initiative can save valuable time in getting the appropriate police, fire and EMS resources to an emergency event.”

It then cites the $2 billion system, as having, “serious problems with how the 911 system and call taking process are managed and operated.”

That the system and its operations “are dangerous to both citizens and public safety personnel.”

The glaring report cited numerous examples of what firefighter and fire dispatch union officials are talking about to this very day such as; redundant questions being asked between police and fire dispatchers, wrong addresses, unclear information of FDNY responding units, miscoding of incidents and misrouting of incidents.

The report even concluding with “it is our recommendation that the UCT initiative be discontinued as soon as possible…”

The findings were conducted and concluded in June 2011, two years ago.

President Uniformed Fire Officers Association Jim McGowan said “my knowledge is none of these recommendations have been taken care of as of now.”

Faye Schmidt, who represents the Fire Dispatchers Union, also says the city is not following the recommendations, instead putting a “Band-Aid on a hemorrhage,” in her words.

The city, however, says all of these claims are untrue.

That the city has in fact reviewed the 2011 recommendations and a report is due out later this summer implementing some of the guidance mentioned within the context of the Winbourne & Costas report.

Jim McGowan says “everyday I’m getting about a dozen complaints. My members who are out on the field are very frustrated by this.”


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