Mayor Enacts Bill to Gauge 911 Response by When Call Comes

Chief Leader - December 24, 2013

by SARAH DORSEY

Mayor Bloomberg Dec. 12 signed into law the Ariel Russo Response Time Reporting Act, a measure that requires emergency response times to be tracked from the moment a 911 call is placed.

Previously, the clock began when the information was sent to the responding agency—FDNY dispatchers or the Emergency Medical Service.

Girl’s Parents on Hand

There to observe the signing ceremony were the parents of 4-year-old Ariel Russo, who died in June when a speeding SUV jumped the curb and struck her. It was later determined that there was a four-minute delay in sending an ambulance to her rescue. The city blamed it on a 911 operator missing the notice, who investigators have determined had used her cell phone on duty several times just minutes before. Monitors throughout the room, however, should reportedly have flashed the information so that other employees would likely have seen it.

“This legislation is named in honor of Ariel Russo, a young girl who was tragically struck by a vehicle and died,” Mr. Bloomberg said at the signing. “Ariel’s parents are with us this afternoon and I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to them for their loss.

“I would also like to thank Fire Department Commissioner Salvatore Cassano and his staff for their work on this bill along with my Office of City Legislative Affairs,” he added.

The city has already begun tracking the additional information, but the new law mandates its reporting on a monthly basis to the City Council. It had many co-sponsors, but Councilman Lew Fidler pushed the measure and similar ones several times. Fire and Criminal Justice Services Committee Chairwoman Elizabeth Crowley was also a strong supporter.

Name Streets for Heroes

The Mayor also signed a bill that day renaming 56 streets and public places in honor of distinguished New Yorkers. Nine of them were for police, fire, military or Emergency Medical Service workers killed in the line of duty. Salman Hamdani Way in Queens was named for the Emergency Medical Technician and NYPD Cadet killed on Sept. 11, 2001, and Firefighter Peter J. Carroll Way was established on Staten Island for another who perished heroically on that day.

The other seven streets include Private First Class Carlos James Lozada Place, in The Bronx; P.O. Calabrese and P.O. Keegan Plaza, in Manhattan; SSG Michael H. Ollis Way, Major Walter M. Murphy, Jr. Way, Carmine Granito and William Smith Way, and Father Capodanno Place, in Staten Island; and Firefighter Michael G. Behette 9/11 Memorial Way, in Brooklyn.