Death : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This morning at the school one of the teachers (GI) said she heard something on the radio about a 911 system crashing in New York. She said that one victim died because the family freaked out when 911 could not be reached. Evidently, they forgot they could still call the police or hospital.

I would like a link to this if it is true. It will probably be in some paper.

-- Linda A. (, February 01, 1999


Linda, here's the story as reported in the NYTimes. I happened to have the TV on yesterday while it happened, and phone #'s were scrolled on the screen.


Filed at 10:09 a.m. EST

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- A man died of a heart attack after his girlfriend made a frantic run to her neighborhood police station because the city's 911 system crashed for an hour, authorities said.

The emergency call system failed when a generator test cut off power at the call center and a backup system didn't kick in Sunday. Technicians shut off electricity at the main emergency call center in the city's Brooklyn borough as part of the routine test of emergency generators.

The generators didn't work, and employees couldn't restart the system, said Matt Higgins, a spokesman for Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

John Audy, 41, of East Wallingford, Vt., was visiting his girlfriend in the Queens borough for the weekend when he suffered a heart attack at her house during the 911 outage.

``He was sitting on the couch. His eyes rolled up,'' his girlfriend, Susan Ungvary, 39, told The New York Times. ``I was holding him, talking to him and calling 911. I was calling 911, and I was getting a busy signal.''

Ms. Ungvary, after at least three futile 911 calls, ran two blocks to her nearest police station for help, she said. Two officers and an ambulance responded. Audy died soon after at a hospital.

City officials were reviewing the case to determine whether the 911 outage played a role in the death.

A backup system which is supposed to transfer emergency calls to police headquarters in Manhattan as soon as the 911 center is off line took an hour to work, said Deputy Chief Patrick Devlin.

``It did not work as planned,'' he told reporters. ``It's supposed to take less than a minute for that to occur. Instead it took about an hour.''

Radio and television stations broadcast alternate emergency numbers, and by 11:35 a.m., the system kicked in and 911 calls were being answered ``at least on a sporadic basis,'' Giuliani said. The system was running normally by 4:45 p.m.

On an average Sunday morning, about 500 calls come in to 911, ``a very low volume,'' Devlin said. On a busy day, as many as 30,000 calls can come in over 24 hours, he added.

The 500 calls usually include about 100 reports of medical emergencies, Giuliani said, adding that workers responded to 75 medical emergencies in the hour the system was down.

Police Commissioner Howard Safir said it wasn't clear why the backup didn't work. ``It took an hour, and we'll have to find out from Bell Atlantic why,'' he said.

John Bonomo, a Bell Atlantic spokesman, said the system worked well but officials at the 911 center tried to fix the problems there before deciding to forward calls to police headquarters.

Calls can't be forwarded automatically, he said, explaining that it takes a few minutes for workers to reprogram lines.

``It is not a flip of a light switch, so to speak, it does take some time,'' he said. ``It's something that we have to wait for the go-ahead to get done.''

-- pshannon (, February 01, 1999.


Good: Within one hour 911 was operational again.

Bad: Someone died in that hour.

Ugly: Imagine January 1, 2000. How many different 911 systems are there in the US? How many different electrical companies do these 911 systems depend on? How many different phone companies do these 911 systems depend on?

-- Other Lisa (, February 01, 1999.

Simple: Do not EXPECT 911 to work during Y2K.
There have been numerous reports/articles stating many locales will not have operable 911 or other common emergency response systems.

Do not EXPECT hospitals to be open.

NOW is the time to learn how to be your own emergency resource.
Take your local FEMA (NET) local courses. Red Cross too.
EMT courses in Commmunity Colleges are eye-openers, life-time skills.

If we PREPARE now to be self-reliant, we will be far less miserable/shocked when our local world crumbles.

Folks, we have to buffer ourselves against emotional anguish. Trying to read between the lines is a prescription at this point for wasted hours and dashed hopes.

Just take a deep breath and realize WE HAVE TO BE SELF-SUFFICIENT.
And not with bitterness or anger; that too is wasted time + energy.

Even local officials don't have a clue re the big picture. But Yourdon Forum readers do if they spend time imagining the social web rapidly unraveling.

PREPARE! Yourself & family first, then neighborhood.
Also start praying NOW. Don't wanna make a cold call on God when TSHTF.

Ashton & Leska in Cascadia, who know the steps for easeful death

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx

-- Leska (, February 01, 1999.

Leska, you posted some wonderful ideas above, such as taking community college EMT courses. Let me add to that by suggesting that if someone doesn't have the time, access, or ability to attend a course such as EMT, your local YMCA offers CPR and First Aid courses on a continual basis. This is a MUST, since you can actually practice on a life-sized dummy. As Leska stated, these are lifetime skills; if y2k is but a bump in the road, you will still have benefitted from taking a course.


-- jhollander (, February 01, 1999.

Durham's 911 system went down during the bit of Hurricane Fran that caused problems in this area. Falling trees took down power lines. The first backup system failed. The second backup system failed too. (I believe the backups consist of two generators.) Duke University campus police communications, which operates on the same frequencies, stayed up. (Duke has its own power supply.) The entire 911 communications crew was transported to Duke's communications center in the middle of the worst of the storm. Around the same time, emergency personnel (including police, ambulance, fire, etc.) were ordered off the streets and under shelter after a young firefighter was killed by a falling tree--trees were toppling like the proverbial ninepins.

Only last week, five of the eight 911 consoles went down and computer techs had to be paged in. Communicators operated with hand-held radios to help with dispatching units and other regular traffic. It was about an hour and a half before all eight consoles were working again. License plates, warrants and criminal backgrounds couldn't be checked. Many 911 callers got busy signals because 911 lines are linked to the consoles. The non-emergency Communications numbers were unaffected.

Good reminder from Linda that nothing is infallible (even with two backups) and alternative phone numbers for emergency services might be posted near the kitchen phone--calls can still be transmitted via hand-helds (as long as their batteries hold out).

-- Old Git (, February 01, 1999.

Just remember ...

The life you learn how to save, may be the life of someone you love.

Prepare 2 Care.


-- Diane J. Squire (, February 01, 1999.

keep asa on hand at all times.

-- Moore Dinty moore (, February 01, 1999.

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