Friday, May 14, 2010

Man dies after FDNY gets lost

From the NY Post:

A Queens man died from lack of oxygen as confused firefighters circled his house for 37 minutes because they couldn't find the address on their outdated map, The Post has learned.

Tom Gallagher, 69, a retired stationary engineer for Fordham University, was in his bedroom at his Little Neck home on Van Nostrand Court just after 10 p.m. Monday when he lost consciousness, his distraught family said.

While his son tried to revive him, firefighters rushing to his aid drove by his cul de sac several times without spotting the entrance.

Their rig was not equipped with GPS or electronic maps -- which are not installed in any FDNY or EMS vehicles.

Instead, they relied on a 2005 Hagstrom map they keep on their dashboard.

Gallagher's family -- which includes a retired fire chief brother and a retired firefighter nephew -- called 911 at 10:21 p.m. to report a heart attack.

With the nearest ambulance five miles away in Flushing, the FDNY dispatcher alerted Engine Co. 313, located eight blocks from Gallagher's house, straight down Northern Boulevard. Inside the firehouse, a wall map has Van Nostrand Court added in black magic marker.

Engine 313 drove back and forth for several minutes along West End Avenue, which offers access to Van Nostrand Court, witnesses said.

At one point, they took off for a similar address in Van Nostrand Place in Douglaston before doubling back to Little Neck. They showed up 37 minutes after the call was placed.

Gallagher's family was later stunned to learn he had died from lack of oxygen, not a heart attack.

25 comments:

Joe said...

The city should be ashamed of itself for not giving these guys budgets for GPS.
A decent system with an external antenna is only $300 and can be properly installed and hardwired by any shmuck with a cordless drill, crimping tool, grommet and some silicone sealer in an hour.
(Ive done it on firetrucks, including updating the software with a laptop in an hour)
Its 2 wires, a mounting bracket and running coax up and around the cab to the optional external antenna mount (2 screws and a grommet)

Company's like Garmen even sell these units to fire departments at cost.
The dumb city cant work out a deal ?

This is in-excusable gross negligence with the lives of millions of people on the mayors part.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Joe! A G.P.S. is the most common sense thing to do. Especially since these fire fighters who are protecting the area, don't know where they are going. Maybe when they do their food shopping they can take a look around?

Anonymous said...

Buy a new map once in a while. And by the way, the map has to be of sufficient scale too. I live on Hoyt Avenue in Astoria. Ten years ago I worked for the Census Department.

I actually had some idiot deny that Astoria Boulevard and Hoyt Avenue are two different streets because the map showed them atop each other--not enough detail.

A person living on one street and crossing the other for decades was not to be believed, only the map!

Anonymous said...

While this is sad, and the FDNY should absolutely be held accountable here, have you taken a look at this street on a map? Some greedy developer built this street where a street has no business being. http://tinyurl.com/256yq26. And here's the Google street view of it: http://tinyurl.com/2em956m. It's a GATED STREET! It looks like a driveway, especially in that neighborhood. There isn't even an official street sign there to mark the street.

Anonymous said...

also is this related to the failed 911 call system? All the millions spend on a failed system? Thanks Bloomberg

Anonymous said...

Instead of forcing tour buses to have headphones, the City Council should force all fire trucks to have GPS maps! How about legislation that actually affects all of us, and can potentially save our lives?

Anonymous said...

I live in Little Neck and I have no idea where that street is.

GPS systems in all emergency vehicles would be a good idea.

To the firefighters credit, they weren't sitting around doing nothing, they were actually trying to find this place. It was the cities outdated way of doing things that may have caused this mans death.

Queens Crapper said...

GPS systems generally don't include streets that are not mapped or are created by a developer where there was none.

Anonymous said...

why didn't someone stand outside and flag them down?

Anonymous said...

GPS systems generally don't include streets that are not mapped or are created by a developer where there was none.

GPS maps are regularly updated, and users can update them online. If it's in Google maps (which this one is), it's likely in most major GPS systems.

why didn't someone stand outside and flag them down?

Even if someone had been outside the house, FD couldn't even find the STREET. IF your father is laying unable to breathe, would you have the wits about you to think "Hmmm, I bet they can't even find the street." or would you be doing everything you could to be with and save your father?

Joe said...

The NYFD could have easily found the street if the truck or somebody on it or on the radio had internet. (Google maps)
The city totally botched this up.

The house address also shows on a $99 Tom Tom GPS BTW
It's
40.771276 X -73.733336
No excuse

ChristineQuinn's Slush funds. said...

Instead of forcing tour buses to have headphones, the City Council should force all fire trucks to have GPS maps! How about legislation that actually affects all of us, and can potentially save our lives?


Hey, that makes too much sense.
PLease remember this when Christine Quinn runs for Mayor 2013.

Anonymous said...

The NYFD could have easily found the street if the truck or somebody on it or on the radio had internet. (Google maps)
The city totally botched this up.


Right. Because it would totally make sense for the trucks to have internet access.

I'm not dismissing the fuckup, but Joe's fix of having internet is unreasonable.

Anonymous said...

We have been paying taxes on our cell phone bills for over a decade for EHANCED 911 -- which is supposed to provide the GPS coords (longitude/latitude) of the callers location for a wired or wireless phone. The people who screwed this system up have to answer for Tom Gallagher's death.

Anony2 said...

But what happened to the ambulance? Flushing to Little Neck does NOT take 37 minutes. Why doesn't little neck have ambulances closer?

Anonymous said...

Two problems here:

1. I know the family isn't in the best state of mind at this time, but don't you think that maybe someone should have said, "let me go out and direct the ambulance, as this isn't such an easy street to find."
2. Not one fireman on the truck knew the neighborhood well enough to say, "wait, I think that is the gated street that looks like an alley."? Maybe they need to get out in the neighborhood more and become a bit more familiar with the community they work in.

Anonymous said...

I'm not dismissing the fuckup, but Joe's fix of having internet is unreasonable
------------------------
first Joe said he had "GOOGLED" the address, he did'nt say they ought to have internet in the fire truck. He said a "G.P.S."

Anonymous said...

This is a re-run of the deaths of 5 children by drowning in the City Island incident a few years ago, also because the enhanced 911 system for cell phones which we were paying for had not yet been implemented.

Anonymous said...

this is a horrific story and my heart goes out to this man's family.

GPSs though are an invention that has gained popularity only within the last few years.

sad that this happened of course but the fire department's lack of owning a GPS is not to blame here - many people say too that they are inaccurate. They should never be relied on solely in an emergency.

I am also put off by the fact that NONE OF THE FIREFIGHTERS knew where the heck they were.

Shouldn't people in jobs that handle emergencies - emts, firemen, police, etc. KNOW their neighorhoods?

Why did they come from Flushing anyway?

Anonymous said...

first Joe said he had "GOOGLED" the address, he did'nt say they ought to have internet in the fire truck. He said a "G.P.S."


Umm no, Joe said:

The NYFD could have easily found the street if the truck or somebody on it or on the radio had internet. (Google maps)
The city totally botched this up.


How do you think one GOOGLES something? He said nothing about GPS in the above statement.

Marco Polo said...

If the entrance was that weird - a GPS would not have found it anyway.

panzer65 said...

Always have someone stand near the reporting address during an emergency, this will asist the responders to locate the location quickly.

Joe said...

"If the entrance was that weird - a GPS would not have found it anyway"

Yes, that why somthing combined with GPS and backup internet Lat-Long as a backup. It combines on a NEMA compliant dats stream.
The 911 center could have used google maps and relayed the Lon-Lat numbers

Hey we already paid for all this shit, sold all our local TV VHF broadcast frequencys, 911 taxes, cell phone taxes.
Where did those billions of $$ go ?

Anonymous said...

All 911 had to do is look it up on Bing, Google map’s and relay the Latitude & longitude or even the dam cross streets on over radio.
So much time was wasted it crazy.
All buildings have the surveyor’s addresses, lot number Latitude & Longitudes on file before they are even built.
This database should be in the 911 system

anita said...

This is partially the reason we have products to help emergency services find your location. This unit did have a GPS but most units DO NOT have GPS units, contrary to popular belief. After several years of having difficulty we have a proprietary product to help us help you, possibly the next smoke or CO2 detector …
Saving seconds….save lives™
www.2help911.com