Firefighters Complain of Dispatch System

United Press International - October 07, 2009

UPI - Firefighters in New York blame a new dispatching system for a debacle in which they were sent to the wrong neighborhood in the Bronx.

The system, designed to make dispatching more efficient by removing a layer of communication, is called Unified Call Taker or UCT. Firefighters complain the initials stand for U-Can't-Tell, the New York Daily News reported Tuesday.

As a building burned Monday on City Island, two fire companies were dispatched a mile in the wrong direction, the News said. The dispatcher said the person who called in the alarm with a cell phone did not give an address so firefighters were sent to the transmitter that picked up the call.

Under the old system, calls to 911 to report fires were transferred to a fire dispatcher. Firefighters say they were more likely to get critical information from callers.

Stacy Librandi, who made the call from the second floor of her burning home, says she did give the address to dispatchers, not once but twice.