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Press Releases / 2009 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NOVEMBER 20, 2009


New Procedure Will Help Train Police Call Takers and Verify Accuracy of Information

The NYPD and FDNY today announced they will temporarily modify the process by which 911 calls reporting fires are handled. Since Unified Call Taking began in May, Police Call Takers have been electronically sending information about fires directly to FDNY Dispatchers through a newly established electronic link. This replaced a 1960's-era system under which both Police and Fire Call Takers separately and redundantly interviewed callers, wasting valuable seconds. Since Unified Call Taking began, response times to structural fires dropped below 4 minutes; they were 3:56 last month compared 4:10 in April.

Under a modified procedure intended to reduce the likelihood of inaccurate information being sent, the Police Call Taker will now also conference in a Fire Department Call Taker who will listen to the call, have the opportunity to ask additional questions of the caller if necessary, and verify the accuracy of the information which the Police Call Taker transmits to the Fire Dispatchers. This modification should not increase response time but will help train Police Call Takers as they take on this relatively new and important responsibility.

In late October, based on a review of the first six months of Unified Call Taking, Police and Fire launched a new training program and more than half of the Police Call Takers have received it. This new procedure, which will begin the morning of Tuesday, November 24, will supplement that training and last until both agencies deem it unnecessary.

Press Contact: Francis X. Gribbon & Frank Dwyer, (FDNY) (718) 999-2056


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