Judge Orders New York City To Release Report on 911 System

A state court judge in New York has ordered the city of New York to release copies of a consultant’s report on the city’s 911 system and response times.

The Uniformed Fire Officers Association and the Uniformed Firefighters Association filed suit under the state open records law to obtain copies of the report. The consultant was hired following concerns over the December 2010 blizzard debacle where EMS responses were delayed between 1 to 5 hours, and some patients died waiting hours for ambulances to arrive. In numerous instances patients were transported to the hospital on FDNY fire trucks rather than waiting for ambulances.

The Bloomberg administration sought to block the release of the report claiming it was still in draft form. The city also objected to the  unions’ request for not only the most current version of the report, but all the various drafts that had gone back and forth between the consultants and the city.

Attorney Joshua Zuckerberg, representing the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, accused the city of engaging in a “coverup . . . plain and simple”, and argued that by labeling the report a “draft”, the city was attempting to keep it from the public “in perpetuity”.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron overruled the city’s objections and ordered the city to produce all the drafts. The city has until April 16, 2012 to release the reports.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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