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City Council to Hear Progress Report on 911 System

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Council Member Peter Vallone Jr. during hearing Council Member Peter Vallone Jr. during hearing (William Alatriste/ New York City Council)

The City Council will hold hearings Tuesday on the status of the emergency communications and 911 call systems in the city a decade after the September 11 attacks exposed serious flaws in the systems.

Queens Councilman Peter Vallone, the public safety chair, said police and fire commands are better integrated and the quality of fire department radios has improved in the last 10 years, but steps still need to be taken. Following the attacks, officials identified weaknesses in both systems, and promised a nearly $2 billion upgrade.

"We still don't have a 911 back-up," said Queens Councilman Peter Vallone, Public Safety Chair. "It still has not been built and that was one of [Police Commissioner] Ray Kelly's biggest priorities."

He added: "Put all of the agencies on one floor of the command center so that there would be better coordination within 911 as to what was going on because everybody would be located in the same place. That has yet to happen because of problems installing the technology."

Poor radio communication on September 11, 2001, resulted in confusion for the first responders, and was considered a factor in the FDNY's catastrophic death toll — 343 firefighters died in the attacks.

Vallone said the hearing Tuesday will include testimony from the city's new Deputy Mayor for Operations, Cas Holloway.

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