standard City Embarks on Comprehensive Review of 911 Call-Taking Process

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

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 being 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 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–of the largest and most expansive emergency response system in the country–is now underway.

“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 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.

Other officials involved in the review include incoming Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Anne Roest, and Police Commissioner William Bratton.