Public officials are demanding an investigation into the near-meltdown of the city’s 911 emergency system during Sandy’s wrath last month – refusing to accept Mayor Bloomberg’s assertion that it all worked “perfectly.”
“Failure to plan caused the system to fail, just as it failed during the December 2010 blizzard,” wrote Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Queens), chairwoman of the Fire and Criminal Justice Committee, in an open letter to Bloomberg.
“The city must seriously analyze the system’s shortcomings and seek answers that will help us better prepare for future disasters,” they demanded.
“By shining a light on the scope of this breakdown, The Post did the city a real service,” said de Blasio. “When the city sees a crisis, like a storm approaching, it has to assign the personnel and resources necessary to protect our people.”
The call center was woefully understaffed as well, as it dealt with as many as 50,000 calls an hour.
But Bloomberg has insisted that the system, which has been subject to an ongoing and over-budget $2 billion overhaul, worked “perfectly.”
He dismissed de Blasio and Crowley yesterday as ill-informed.
“They unfortunately don’t know anything,” Bloomberg said. “They don’t know what they’re talking about.”
De Blasio said frustrated – and worried – residents called his office and staffers during the storm when they couldn’t get through to 911.
Aides were able to contact the Office of Emergency Management and help facilitate the evacuations of three families, according to de Blasio’s office.
De Blasio urged Bloomberg to take a hard look at the 911 system.
“This demands more than flip remarks. People couldn’t get through to 911 with life-threatening emergencies,” he said. “There’s only one acceptable response to that kind of breakdown: Fix it.”
In a related development, the state Appellate Division issued a unanimous ruling ordering City Hall to release drafts of a controversial report that found the city’s new 911 system a failure.
The Post in April revealed that Bloomberg was hiding the scathing report to avoid the embarrassment that independent consultants found the system remains plagued with problems despite attempts to fix it.
His top officials had marked all copies of the 911 Call Processing Review – or 911 CPR – as drafts to circumvent public-records laws that allow government agencies to keep drafts of internal reports private.
The ruling, however, didn’t require City Hall to immediately release the report.
Source: The NY Post