NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Despite a report to the contrary, Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the city’s 911 system during Superstorm Sandy, saying it worked just fine.
“The technology functioned perfectly. Are you ever going to have enough operators to take all the calls when all of a sudden everybody calls? No, of course not,” Bloomberg told reporters on Monday.
The 911 call system was called into question after a report in the New York Post.
The paper reported that some city residents tried calling and were not answered or spoken to by unprepared operators.
Others claimed dispatchers from the police, fire and ambulance services feuded with one another and that some operators tried to send 911 calls to the city’s 311 non-emergency hotline.
One woman told the Post she tried to call 911 for her friend who was stuck in his Rockaway Park apartment and has cerebral palsy.
She said she couldn’t get through for one hour and then once she did, she was put in touch with a dispatcher from the Bronx and at one point was told no one could help because her friend’s situation wasn’t a “medical emergency.”
That friend, the paper reported, eventually drowned in his Rockaway home.
Bloomberg said the sheer volume of people in the city is tremendous, but said New York has spent “a billion dollars” to make sure the right technology is in place.
“You have eight million people in the city, you can’t have 8 million operators,” the mayor said.
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