Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "emergency response" ...

  • Boston Globe: Losing Laura

    The needless death of a journalist’s wife from an asthma attack outside a locked hospital door revealed stunning weakness in Massachusetts’ emergency response system, sending the widowed journalist on a painful quest to document everything that went wrong and why Laura’s caregivers didn’t tell him the truth — a quest that changed the way the state’s 911 operators are trained to take emergency calls.
  • Dying For Help: Fixing The Nation's Emergency Response System

    Two year investigation fixes stunning weaknesses in the nation’s 911 system, resulting in improvements at the FCC and state governments, an elegant invention to solve the problem, and two US patents that will make us all safer.
  • Historic Flood: Houston’s Emergency Response

    Within days of historic flooding that left 8 people dead and parts of Houston devastated, the KPRC investigative team began digging for answers on the city’s emergency response to the hardest hit areas. Our primary focus started with the deaths of 3 citizens who were thrown into raging flood waters when a fire department rescue boat capsized. Our Open Records Request for the boat’s maintenance logs and emergency communications during that rescue yielded a shocking discovery about how unprepared firefighters were for this severe weather event. https://youtu.be/nDKfvSiujpI
  • Trains Plus Crude Oil Equals Trouble Down the Track

    The project represents a yearlong examination of the response to safety problems associated with a massive and sudden increase in crude oil transported by rail. It found that government and industry had failed to identify and correct safety gaps in the rail system, including the inspection and maintenance of track and bridges and the design of the tank cars carrying the oil. It also showed that government efforts to better inform local emergency response personnel still left them in the dark on some types of crude oil moved by rail and on smaller shipments. Additionally, the project detailed efforts by railroads and some states to keep even limited information about crude oil trains out of public view.
  • Austin Emergency Response Failures

    This series of investigative stories uncovered an overwhelmed 9-1-1 center staff during the deadly “Halloween Flood” of 2013 in Austin, Texas and triggered proposed changes to Austin’s 9-1-1 system. Open records requests returned 9-1-1 calls and emails showing the impact earlier cost-cutting decisions had the morning of the flood. The records we uncovered show the City of Austin was underprepared to respond to this overnight emergency and any others of its scale. The series morphed into an examination of the City of Austin’s 9-1-1 center and how years of neglect led to a controversial and unreported plan to save overtime. After the City of Austin released its final flood report and KXAN questioned the small number of recommendations, police leaders announced a 9-1-1 system audit. After KXAN reported a leaked draft, police amended a budget list of critical needs requesting 36 new 9-1-1 positions.
  • Crude oil in Pittsburgh

    North America is now one of the biggest producers of crude oil in the world, partly because of fracking in North Dakota and other Western states. With a lack of pipelines in place to move the oil, much of it has been pushed onto the rails. Much of that oil is moved in tank cars found to spill their loads when accidents occur. With the increased traffic, accidents have piled up across North America. Refineries processing much of the crude from the Bakken formation in the West are in the Philadelphia area. In May, the federal government told the railroads to give that information to states where they shipped large quantities of crude. Many states made the information public, but Pennsylvania was one of the states that opted out, citing that the information was “confidential” and “proprietary” to railroads. The state emergency response agency denied our public records requests (as well as other news agencies requests) for the information. PublicSource wanted to show people where trains were traveling in Pittsburgh and the potential affected population living around those lines.
  • The Real Death Valley

    Over the past five years, the remains of more than 400 migrants have been recovered in in rural Brooks County, Texas, some 70 miles north of the Mexico border. Yet no news organization had investigated why these deaths were occurring. Our investigation showed that stepped up border enforcement, interior border checkpoints, a lack of federal funds to support local law enforcement, inadequate emergency water supplies, and inadequate 911 emergency response by the U.S. Border Patrol contributed to this dramatic spike in deaths in what has become one of the deadliest migrant corridors in the American Southwest.
  • "33 Minutes to 34 Right"

    When Continental Flight 1404 crashed during its landing at the Denver International Airport, it took ambulance responses teams 33 minutes to reach the crash site. KMGH-TV's investigation reveals critical problems with Denver's ambulance system and dispatch center, as well as with the city's overall preparedness for emergency response.
  • Code 3

    "Code 3" focused on ambulance delays in San Francisco and provided a rare glimpse inside an inherently complex and often secretive bureaucracy. The project began as a two-day series and continued with several follow-up reports. Paramedics and quality control experts say the city does not have enough ambulances and needs to hire more paramedics. A history of tensions between paramedics and firefighters, and a lack of coordination between the Fire Department, the Department of Emergency Management and the Public Health Department, continues to undercut the city's 911 medical responses and the quality of care. The city does not collect sufficient data on 911 responses to fully audit ambulance delays, examine particular treatments and learn from clinical mistakes
  • The Mahoney Scandal: Fall from Grace

    This story uncovered how Florida Rep. Tim Mahoney had secretly paid a former staffer - and one-time mistress - $120,000 and promised her a job at a Democratic media firm to stave off a sexual harassment lawsuit against him. Further reporting also found that Mahoney had gone to great lengths to help another former mistress - a county emergency response official in her district - win a grant from FEMA. The report shows how Democratic leadership was aware of problems with Mahoney's conduct as early as September and encouraged him to deal with the situation.