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De Blasio Administration Announces Most Comprehensive Review in Years of Existing 911 Emergency Response System

May 30, 2014

Builds on 60-day examination of multi-million dollar ECTP Data Center Project

Administration committed to ensuring highest-quality performance of all aspects of 911 system

Most comprehensive review undertaken since current process began in 2009



NEW YORK—As part of the de Blasio administration’s continuing review of the 911 system, the first phase of which was announced last week, the Mayor’s Office of Operations, in close consultation with the FDNY and NYPD, is coordinating a comprehensive operational review of the existing 911 call-taking process. Together with the previously announced review of the long-term data project, this represents the most comprehensive review of the 911 system since the current protocols were put in place in 2009.

Beginning in late March, First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris directed a comprehensive review be undertaken of the entire existing 911 system, including people, process and technology to improve accuracy of call response and improve the speed of response to emergencies.

At the same time, the administration has responded swiftly to questions and concerns raised about the system when incidents have occurred. This includes changing NYPD protocols in the aftermath of the fatal Coney Island fire and disciplining personnel following the tragic fire in the Rockaways.

The more formal phase of the comprehensive operational review is now underway.

“New York City’s 911 emergency response system is the largest and most expansive system of its kind in the country. Last year alone, 10 million calls were placed, the vast majority of which were handled swiftly and accurately,” said First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris. “But when lives are at stake, we have no room for error, and we must always strive for perfection. The review underway of our city’s entire 911 system by new leadership in each of the agencies involved will provide vital information necessary to ensuring the continued safety and well-being of all New Yorkers.”

At today’s hearing, administration officials outlined additional aspects of their review of the existing system, including:

  • An examination of the current condition of 911-call handling process. This will involve detailed analysis of the current process, along with a review of protocols and procedures, personnel and training practices, and interagency communications;
  • Data analysis of call-handling, particularly the distribution of end-to-end response times. In coordination with NYPD and FDNY, the Office of Operations will mine 911 call data to discover meaningful patterns that may lead to improved performance; and,
  • An assessment of all previous studies done on the system as well as a comprehensive review of industry best practices.
The review is being undertaken in coordination with the previously announced 60-day review of the Emergency Communications Transformation Program (ECTP). This will ensure that any operational recommendations for revised procedures align closely with changes made to the technology and facilities used by the 911 system.

“The Mayor has made it clear that a comprehensive review of the 911 system is a top priority for his administration to ensure we are providing the most effective emergency response to New Yorkers in need, and the FDNY is 100 percent committed to this goal,” said incoming Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. “Accomplishing our life-saving mission means from the second a 911 call is made, to the moment our operations are concluded, all New Yorkers must receive the quickest and most professional response possible. That's what they deserve.”

“This review will help to ensure that the 911 call system operates at an optimal level,” said Police Commissioner William Bratton. “The safety of all New Yorkers requires the best possible emergency response system, and coordination is the key to success."

“We are committed to ensuring successful completion of this program in a way that enhances the safety of the more than eight million New Yorkers we serve every day,” said Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Anne Roest. “DoITT is now leading a comprehensive project review and validation of ECTP’s scope, schedule, budget and governance and will submit a set of recommendations to the Mayor in July. This holistic review will help us deliver the state-of-the art emergency communications system that New Yorkers deserve and can be proud of.”
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