The city's 911 system still isn’t fixed and the costs are soaring out of control.
Problems with the Fire Department’s dispatch desk outlined in a city investigation Tuesday are just one flaw in the convoluted 911 emergency response system that officials have been trying to fix for years.
Back in 2004 the Bloomberg administration announced ambitious plans to modernize 911 by linking police, fire and EMS systems in one well-coordinated computerized network. The choreography soon fell apart, and a system that was supposed to cost $1.3 billion and be finished by 2009 is now expected to cost $2.03 billion and won’t be finished until August 2016.
In May, Mayor de Blasio froze the city’s 911 upgrade project and ordered a 60-day review. In August, his administration outlined what he called the “root causes” of delays, including the city’s overreliance on outside consultants and lousy communications between city agencies. De Blasio cut back on consultants and put just one agency — the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications — in charge.
The Fire Department, meanwhile, made temporary fixes to streamline communications and will soon request more money for upgrades so EMS will be automatically notified of all “active fire” calls.