NYC’s 911 System Went Down for Two Hours

NEW YORK (AP) -

A part of the city’s computerized 911 emergency dispatch system went down for nearly two hours Monday, forcing dispatchers to manually handle calls, but fire officials say no life-threatening emergencies came in during that period.

The system was down from about 2:15 p.m. to 4:05 p.m. on Monday. About 600 calls were handled manually by operators and dispatchers, a process in place and used when necessary for more than two decades, fire officials said. Emergency crews were sent out by radio, and callers were able to report emergencies without an issue.

The outage is being investigated, but the system has had problems in the past as the city continues its $2 billion modernization of the 911 system, including using new technology and building a new backup call center. The old system has been in place for decades.

The old system’s weaknesses were on deadly display on Sept. 11, 2001, when operators were unaware that fire chiefs were evacuating the doomed Twin Towers. The federal Sept. 11 Commission concluded the flaws denied people potentially life-saving information.