Council Passes 911 Response Time Bill

NEW YORK -

The New York City Council on Tuesday passed a bill requiring the fire department to change how it tracks response times to emergencies, naming the legislation for a 4-year-old Manhattan girl who was struck and killed by a SUV in June.

There was a four-minute delay in dispatching an ambulance to Ariel Russo. It then took another four minutes for the emergency vehicle to arrive.

Previously, response time was calculated from when a 911 operator transferred the call to a dispatcher, meaning that the response time for Russo’s accident was recorded as four minutes. Now, it would be from when the call is made, which would push it to eight minutes.

The city has since made the change after Russo’s death; the bill would codify it.

“Today’s Tuesday,” Sofia Russo, Ariel’s mother, told the city council. “Tuesdays are hard, because Ariel was born on a Tuesday and she died on a Tuesday. But there’s something good happening on this Tuesday because this law is being passed in her honor.”

Councilman Lew Fidler, the Brooklyn Democrat who sponsored the bill, said he hoped the bill, “brings some sense of meaning to a meaningless act.”

Russo’s family has sued the city for $40 million over the delay.

With reporting by the AP.