NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There is frightening new information about delays in dispatching ambulances. Emergency Services call logs reveal apparent glitches in New York City’s new emergency response system — and they’re problems that union officials claim could compromise public safety and cause system failure.
As CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Tuesday, the emergency response system might be sending some calls for help to a black hole that causes serious delays in dispatching ambulances.
“After you spend $88 million of taxpayer money on a project like this and it doesn’t work and you use the citizens of New York as guinea pigs, I don’t know what to say,” said Israel Miranda, president of the EMS union.
Documents obtained by CBS 2 show delays in calls coming to EMS ranging from minutes to hours. One delay was two and a half hours and another was five hours.
The five-hour delay requested an ambulance for an Astoria man suffering from drug or alcohol abuse.
“He was probably sober by then,” Miranda said.
There was also a delay of 2 hours and 28 minutes for a car accident on 89th Street and 103rd Avenue, and a delay of 1 hour and 4 minutes for a car accident on 94th Street and Astoria Boulevard.
FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano claims the gaps in time are caused by cops responding to calls first and then calling EMS.
“They may have been there for a while, but when they call us we respond,” Cassano said.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly defended system, saying the old one was 40 years old and had outdated technology.
“I’m told by the experts that you’re going to have kinds of bumps or hiccups at the beginning of installing a major system like this,” Kelly said.
Meanwhile, the union and the fire commissioner engaged in the blame game over who was responsible for a missed 911 call that led to a four-minute delay in sending an ambulance to a tragic car accident in which 4-year-old Ariel Russo was still clinging to life.
The commissioner insists the dispatcher didn’t see the call. The union says that’s not true. The call wasn’t on the screen and if it was it would have been seen by more than 30 people, including supervisors.
“Everyone would have seen this call hanging there. And no one seen it, so obviously it was not there,” Miranda said.
The fire commissioner insists its human error, not the system, and he’s vowing to call everyone in –everyone in the call center that day — and put them under oath to see who’s telling the truth.
The company that developed the new apparatus has had similar problems with emergency dispatch systems it designed in Nassau County and San Jose, Calif.
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