To the Editor:
When an intern recently fainted in the heat, Christine Quinn complained that an ambulance took far too long to arrive. I also witnessed the slow response of the 911 system after an accident near my home a few weeks ago. A young girl waited a long time for help, despite the fact that the fire station is only eight blocks away and ambulances often park around the neighborhood waiting for calls. I couldn’t understand what took so long as I’ve seen numerous accidents at this corner.
I then came across a recent article from the New York Post entitled “My Hell as a 911 Operator.” According to the writer, the new $88 million dollar computer system is slower than the old one and dysfunctional. Due to heavy volume, the system is constantly down and the operators must use paper and pencils to take calls. Sometimes, the information also disappears after it’s been entered into the system.
In addition, operators are forced to work mandatory double shifts of 16 hours as often as three or four times a
week. They also work nights, weekends and holidays. This means that operators are frequently tired, overworked and stressed and many leave the job. The City should have hired more operators instead of purchasing such an expensive but poorly functioning computer system. Our next mayor should investigate these ongoing problems with 911 so people get the emergency help they need.