Alarming Gaffes Stir Fury
Since Detroit revamped its 911 system in September 2005, the response time of fire fighters to fires has hit some road bumps. The new system has had trouble relaying information to the Fire Department’s computers, which has been the usual conduit for dispatching fire trucks, and as a result snafus have ensnared Detroit’s 911-operators and fire fighters in a bit of a blame game.
In March 2006, fire fighters rushed to a report of fire at “14th and West Grand Boulevard” only to discover the actual fire was three miles away at “14th and West Grand Avenue.” Two additional homes caught fire during the time squandered by the mix-up.
Dispatchers from 911 verbally must relay information by radio or telephone to specific fire houses rather than send it via computer to multiple nearby fire houses as a printout like before, and Detroit Fire Fighters Association President Dan McNamara says this “managerial and technical failure” needs to be fixed before more incidents happen.
Fire fighters involved in the March mix-up and a subsequent one say the 911 operators gave them the wrong street names. In addition, the Detroit Fire Department has faced budget cuts that axed 59 employees and five trucks in 2006.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Detroit Free Press (05/30/06); McGraw, Bill.