Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bloomberg Administration Knows 1/4 To 1/3 Of All 911 Calls Are Getting Lost In The System, But Continues To Deny The Problem Exists

In case you missed this very important Juan Gonzalez investigation on Bloomberg's faulty 911 system upgrade, here it is in full:

Less than 24 hours after the death of little Ariel Russo in a car accident on the upper West Side, EMS supervisors began an exchange of bombshell emails about repeated “lost calls” from the city’s new 911 system.

The emails obtained by the Daily News show for the first time that high-ranking officials knew the extent of the problems with the $88 million system very early on — just days after the system was launched and before 4-year-old Ariel died.

Lt. Carl Nunziata, an overnight shift boss, sent the first email on June 5. It was at 5:51 a.m. and addressed to Carla Murphy, the head of computer programming for EMS.

“Last night we had a couple of jobs I would like for you to look at,” the email began.
Nunziata said a call came from the NYPD to EMS as a “lost call.” Another call came in for an emotionally disturbed person and inexplicably had no address attached to it.

“Why are these jobs coming in this way?” a perplexed Nunziata asked. “And what are we suppose(sic) to do with these type jobs?”
The startling reply from Murphy came just after 10 a.m. on June 6. Some of the brass already knew.

“[Deputy Fire] Chief Napoli reported the problem to me several days ago and I provided a list of incidents where this had occurred over 3 days for Intergraph to resolve,” Murphy wrote.

A flurry of “lost calls” were “happening to about 1/4 [to] 1/3 of incidents transmitted from NYPD ICAD,” she said.

ICAD is the acronym for the new computer system built by Intergraph Corp. It is used by 911 operators to assign police and to transmit details of emergency calls to EMS and FDNY dispatch centers in downtown Brooklyn.

Given that 911 operators process an average of 3,000 ambulance calls a day, the Murphy email raises the possibility that the number of lost calls may have been in the hundreds or thousands.

A “lost” message, according to fire officials and Intergraph’s own manual, occurs when transmissions from NYPD to EMS fail to reach the intended recipient, usually because of a break in a computer link, or because of a garbled transmission.
“We get several of these a day . . . which may not have sufficient information for responding units to find the incident,” Murphy wrote, copying several top brass.
Whatever the number, it certainly points to a bigger problem with the new system than the minor “bugs” Mayor Bloomberg conceded on May 31.
Ariel was struck on June 4 at W. 97th St. and Amsterdam Ave., as she walked to school with her grandmother around 8:15 a.m. She was clinging to life, as police on the scene repeatedly asked for an ambulance.
The News revealed a few days later that there was a delay of more than four minutes in dispatching an ambulance. She later died, but it’s not clear if the delay contributed to her death. The girl’s family has filed a $40 million lawsuit against the city.

Fire officials, who blamed that delay on human error, said Monday that everything was fine with the new system.

“There has not been a single lost call with the new system,” Deputy Fire Commissioner Frank Gribbon insisted Monday.
They say an EMS worker failed to see the 911 ambulance request on her screen before going on a break, and admitted so afterward. Since then, she has contradicted that account. She denied seeing any new call on her screen before her replacement took over.
And the union for EMS paramedics has claimed the call for help was somehow lost in the system.
The EMS log of that incident lists several “PD-LOST” messages in the first few seconds of the transmission from 911.
Fire officials say no calls have been missed and the new system is faster and more reliable than its predecessor.

“The new ICAD system is so fast that the moment the NYPD call taker starts keying in information, the transmission starts to EMS,” Gribbon said. “There are instances when we receive partial data from ICAD. But we always get the full data within seconds.”

So a “lost” call is not really lost, according to Gribbon, just temporarily garbled or unavailable.
“It may not be the perfect term to use,” he conceded.

“That’s nonsense,” a veteran EMS dispatcher said. “He’s obviously never worked a dispatch terminal.”

“Since this new system started, our people get on the phone to 911 every day and ask, ‘where’s the information on that ambulance job you were supposed to send me?’ ” the dispatcher said. “The operator may tells us, ‘I sent it to you 20 minutes or an hour ago,’ but it’s still not our screen. If that isn’t lost, what is?”

Fire officials later acknowledged that dozens of paramedics and supervisors working at the EMS dispatch center the day of the accident should have been able to see the ambulance request on their individual computer monitors. Officials say the request would also have been visible on a huge screen in the EMS center that highlights in white any calls that have been delayed more than three minutes.
A public outcry ensued and officials have promised a full investigation. As of last week, at least 15 people had been interviewed under oath, including an EMS captain and a lieutenant. None has reported seeing the Ariel Russo ambulance request on EMS computer screens, say union leaders with knowledge of the interviews.

“Nobody saw the call for the little girl because it wasn’t there,” said Israel Miranda, president of the paramedics and emergency technicians union. “It was a lost call, and city doesn’t want to admit there’s a big problem with this new system.”

This is horrific but not a surprise.

The Bloomberg people never take responsibility for mistakes or problems, they always look to balme it on others - especially city workers.

We had better hope there is not some major disaster, either weather-related or otherwise, that brings in a ton of 911 calls before Bloomberg finally flies off to Bermuda and the next mayor comes in and (I hope) fixes this system.

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