City’s 911 Operators Use Pen And Paper As Computers Fail

Marc Santora | New York Times | May 30, 2013

Emergency operators in New York City have been forced on at least three occasions since Wednesday to resort to using pen and paper to record 911 calls and dispatch workers after their computer system went dark.

Officials were quick to say that every call was answered and emergency workers continued to be dispatched across the city.

However, the problem — which officials said halted the relaying of electronic messages between 911 operators and the dispatchers who send out police, fire and emergency workers — came on the first truly hot day of the year, when there is usually a spike in calls.

As a result, calls were being prioritized to ensure that the most serious cases were dealt with first, according to fire officials.