Op-Ed: 911 Systems Overloaded During Storm; Is NYC Ready For A Terrorist Attack?


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The NYPD brought in additional 911 operators Saturday to handle the surge in emergency calls, YWN has learned.

City officials reported 65,000 911 calls over the weekend, which was the second largest volume ever, more than September 11th, and only second to the blackout in 2003.

When callers placed a call to 911 on Saturday evening, instead of an operator asking for the location of their emergency, people heard an automated recording saying “you have reached the NYPD, this message is for the deaf”, followed by some strange tones. After holding for more than 5 minutes, an operator would finally answer. Heaven-help the individual who was having a heart attack, and needed EMS.

YWN recieved countless reports of this, and this writer confirmed this himself by calling 911 three times for wires burning. In fact, a Hatzolah dispatcher was unable to reach a 911 operator when requiring FDNY assistance on a Hatzolah call. Instead, Hatzolah was sending their members to firehouses to give firefighters addresses for emergencies.

One can only wonder if NYC isn’t able to handle a surge in 911 calls during a storm, how prepared are they for a large-scale terrorist attack?

Meanwhile, in neighboring Nassau County, a review of the 911 system are needed, County Executive Edward Mangano said Sunday after callers overwhelmed it during Saturday’s storm, causing answering delays and the routing of some calls to Albany.

Mangano said the 911 system handles an average of 2,200 calls daily. Saturday that soared to about 10,000, he said, many of them generated by the ferocious nor’easter. In a typical week, 14,000 to 17,000 calls are handled.

Perhaps this storm should serve as a “wake-up call” for city officials that the 911 systems should be prepared and capable of handling tremendous call volume.

(Yehuda Drudgestein – YWN)


  1. “One can only wonder if NYC isn’t able to handle a surge in 911 calls during a storm, how prepared are they for a large-scale terrorist attack?” Well it says earlier in the article that this weekend 911 got more calls than on September 11th, and I think that on September 11th, there was a large-scale terrorist attack and they handled it pretty well!

  2. Chushuva yid, are you dreaming? On 9/11 the 911 system went down. The firefighters didn’t hear the three siren blasts that was their signal to start evacuating the South Tower because it was about to come down. Feel better.

  3. the problem is- people are calling 911 when its not really an emergency. if a branch falls on your sidewalk, call 311 not 911 no matter how large it is.

  4. That’s why we have Chaveirim, Hatzolah, Misaskim and Shomrim. They were unfortunately active on that day (9/11) and now again handled it with the utmost efficiency and professionalism possible. For this, one can only say: Mi KeAmcha Yisroel!

    I can only tell you what a police commanding officer told Hatzolah members at a scene: When I see you guys I feel safe”. I too, use these dedicated organizations and individuals as my security blanket. They are the Shluchim Hashem sent to protect us in case of need, and they don’t fail!