The NYPD and FDNY announced an overhaul of their new computerized 911 system yesterday after a series of errors led to deadly delays in responding to fires.
Under the Unified Call Taking system, which went online in May, callers are only able to speak to 911 operators as opposed to fire dispatchers who are well-acquainted with FDNY protocols and equipment.
After the call is received, the operator inputs the information, including the address, and then transmits it to a fire dispatcher.
Union officials say this system has led to a number of serious blunders, including:
* Nov. 7, when three men died in a Woodside, Queens, basement fire after a 911 dispatcher initially ordered six fire trucks to the wrong address.
* Wednesday afternoon, when firefighters were sent to the wrong address for a Crown Heights, Brooklyn, fire that killed two toddlers and their father.
In the wake of the deaths, FDNY dispatchers will now be allowed to listen in on fire calls and "ask additional questions of the caller if necessary."
The modification, which will be implemented Tuesday morning, is designed to "reduce the likelihood of inaccurate information being sent" and to "verify the accuracy of information" being transmitted, the NYPD and FDNY said in a statement.
City officials claim the move has cut response times, but fire-union officials maintain the new system is hopelessly flawed and needs to be scrapped altogether.
David Rosenzweig, president of the Uniformed Fire Alarm Dispatchers Benevolent Association, said he was somewhat heartened by the change, but insisted city officials "don't want to admit they were wrong."