New York’s entire 911 emergency system was paralyzed because someone pushed the wrong button

An outside contractor performing repairs at the FDNY emergency dispatch center in Brooklyn pushed the wrong button to open a door, shutting down the agency’s communications system, sparking an hour-long crisis across the city. from New York.

The unusual incident reported exclusively by New York Post It happened last Wednesday the 12th at the facilities of the FDNY MetroTech Center and forced staff to trust old ways – pens, paper and phones instead of digital systems – to collect data and communicate to first responders when emergency calls to 911, according to denounced officials of the unions that represent the dispatchers and doctors of the agency.

Los delays in responding to emergency calls they ranged from a few minutes to more than an hour, said Oren Barzilay, president of Local 2507, which represents the city’s EMTs and paramedics.

Barzilay said that is not aware of any deaths as a result of the chaos, But he added that it’s hard to know if the patients ultimately suffered adverse effects because help came later than normal. “If someone has a stroke and they don’t get there on time, their outcome could be worse,” she said.

The shutdown occurred on Wednesday around 11 a.m. when A repairman for communications company Lightpath responded to a report of a previous failure at the data center.

The repairman mistook a closed button for marked glass “EPO” (“emergency power off”, that is, emergency power off) with an electronic door release button, so he opened the lid and accidentally shut down the system, workers said.

“I would love to know how someone unauthorized could get to that switch so easily,” Barzilay fumed. “That should never happen.” With systems down, workers fought heroically to help people in emergencies.

An unnamed source accused the Acting FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh, of trying to take “credit” for overseeing the implementation of the new computer-assisted dispatch system last year, but now doesn’t want to “take the blame for its failure.”

“It is a serious problem, and the fact that it was discovered in this way is shameful,” the source said. Kavanagh responded in a statement saying that he is “extremely proud of the work done by our members during this power outage and the fact that the department replaced an outdated dispatch system last year with a system [de despacho asistido por computadora] which continued to function.”

“If we hadn’t acted to replace the old system last year, it would have ultimately failed,” the commissioner insisted.

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