New York City Report: 911 System 'Failed' in '03 Blackout

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A comprehensive report on this summer's massive blackout was released today by the city. Overall, it found that most everything ran according to plan, except for one crucial area -- the city's 911 system.

In New York City we have three completely separate dispatch systems; one for fire, one for police and one for EMS. Thousands of calls come into 911 every day, but the city's three separate dispatch systems have major communication problems.

And in the blackout when 911 was flooded with calls there were plenty of delays, and lots of waiting. And what's worse, the city's known about the 911 problem since the early 90's.

Today a report from the mayor's task force on the blackout says, "The current dispatch structure lacks overall coordination." The City Council was more blunt, "Our city's communications systems failed us."

Yvette Clark, (D) NYC Council Members: "But what I am saying is that this city, after going through a number of events leading up to the blackout missed something there's no doubt about it."

The City Council was furioius police and fire officials didn't testify at their blackout hearing. But the mayor says he's well aware of the 911 problem.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg: "What we have has served this city well but it's time to take it to the next level."

The mayor today said the city's response to the blackout went phenomenally well. But when asked about why it's taking so long to fix 911, the mayor asked for some time.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg: "I just became two years ago, and I'm trying to address the issues as fast as I can."

Also today the City Council said in the blackout the Verizon phone system worked so poorly that they're now considering going with another company.

The city's telephone contract is worth about $150 million.

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