Council Member Joseph Borelli (R – South Shore) is working with Verizon over constituent concerns relating to 911 calls placed on the south shore of Staten Island. Earlier this month, Borelli’s district office had fielded an inquiry from a constituent that was involved in a car accident in Tottenville; when the constituent called 911 to report it, the call was routed to 911 dispatchers in New Jersey, potentially delaying the response time and adding a layer of confusion to an already stressful situation. Since this time, similar cases have also been reported.
In response to Borelli’s concerns, Verizon has agreed to investigate the problem by identifying the number of calls originating from the south shore of Staten Island that are being routed to 911 dispatchers in New Jersey, and vice versa, so that they can establish a ratio of the calls that are correctly routed. If the towers are operating incorrectly, the calls will be re-directed to the appropriate authorities.
A similar situation was occurring in midtown Manhattan, and in that instance Verizon was able to work with Council Member Helen Rosenthal’s office to adjust their tower to ensure that the 911 calls originating in Manhattan are automatically diverted to the proper dispatchers.
“Although only a fraction of calls along the extreme south-western shore of Staten Island have been misdirected, the statistic doesn’t mean much to someone in the midst of an emergency. This is an issue that has, over the years, become more prevalent as people rely more on cell phones, and I’m glad that Verizon is taking affirmative steps to address these problems when they occur in specific geographic areas,” said Borelli.
“I was recently involved in a car accident in Tottenville. When I called 911, the operator who answered the phone was in New Jersey and unfamiliar with the area. It took additional time for the operator to realize that the call had possibly been misdirected. I’m glad there weren’t any serious consequences of this quirk in the 911 system, and I’m very happy to hear that Councilman Borelli and Verizon are working to solve the problem,” said Jayce Nichols of Huguenot, whose call to the Councilman’s office spurred the investigation.