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NYC streamlines 911 emergency system in $2B upgrade


911 Credit: Office of the Mayor

Valuable seconds will be saved when people call 911 thanks to a major overhaul of the city's outdated system, officials announced Thursday.

The streamlined system now puts 1,500 call takers and dispatchers with the NYPD, FDNY and Emergency Medical Dispatch on the same floor and using the same technology at a single Brooklyn call center.

"If you were to pick up the phone and call and say, 'Somebody's holding me up, I just fell down the stairs and broke a leg, and by the way, there's a fire,' one call will get you the response that you need," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference with police and fire officials. "That's exactly the kind of coordination that we need."

Previously, there were more steps involved for 911 operators in trying to determine a caller's address. The new system, part of a $2.1 billion upgrade that began in 2004, maps out the person's location immediately.

That's critical because the majority of the 30,000 calls made each day now come from cell phones, officials said.

The new call center can handle 50,000 calls per hour, and a backup system is being constructed in the Bronx and could open by 2015.

Follow reporter Erik Ortiz on Twitter: @erikjhortiz

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