Stories

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

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Search results for "response time" ...

  • Fire Mutual Aid

    Several years ago tips to our newsroom led to what would be come a multi-year effort. Over the course of the years Action News Investigates uncovered slow fire response times as result of a broken and poorly managed system. In 2015, those investigations told in a station-produced documentary won a 2015 Peabody Award. That was only the beginning. Investigative reporter Paul Van Osdol has continued to stay on top of all fire and EMS response stories in the years that followed. In 2018, those stories were prominent once again. This entry highlights several failed responses to fires that in some case, if more efficient, could have saved lives. The entry also highlights the results of these investigations, a state commission review of local fire departments.
  • NOPD: Call Waiting

    It’s one of the most basic – and critical – services provided by any city: Call police in an emergency and get a quick response. But for crime victims in New Orleans, police response times have skyrocketed as the number of cops has diminished. Delays can mean the difference between life and death, between solving a crime and allowing a predator to strike again. WWL-TV and The New Orleans Advocate worked together to analyze almost 3 million calls for service to the New Orleans Police Department over the last five years. The joint analysis found that NOPD response times to 911 calls have tripled since 2010 to an average wait of 79 minutes, saddling New Orleans with some of the longest police response times of any major American city. http://theadvocate.com/news/neworleans/neworleansnews/13838324-125/live-chat-advocate-wwl-tv-experts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dQ8kuYBNOM&feature=youtu.be http://www.wwltv.com/story/news/local/investigations/2016/01/08/call-waiting-nopd/78503840/
  • Burning Questions

    When your house catches fire, every second counts. An investigation by WTAE TV in Pittsburgh found a wide gap in response times by Western Pennsylvania fire departments. WTAE’s investigation found little has changed in the volunteer firefighting system since Ben Franklin started America’s first fire department in Philadelphia in 1736. Investigative Reporter Paul Van Osdol obtained data that revealed response times for communities throughout Western Pennsylvania. But that was only the beginning. http://vimeo.com/wtae/review/131571086/99ea45739d http://vimeo.com/wtae/review/150830783/ada0681965 http://vimeo.com/wtae/review/151430643/c0c500ace0
  • 911 Dispatch Delay

    In November of 2012, a man dialed 911 for help from his apartment which had caught fire. The fire spread quickly while he was on the phone with 911. The fire took his life. An internal investigation that began the next morning and continued for the next year determined a failure to properly dispatch the fire department led to a nearly five minute delay in response. It was only the second time in the history of the Onondaga County 911 center a dispatch delay had led, in part, to a fatality. The delay was never revealed. Not to the man's family, the fire department or the public. Three years after the fire our investigation of more than eight months led to all of those parties learning of the deadly delay. We also discovered the dispatcher who was determined to be at fault served no punishment and was not retrained. http://cnycentral.com/news/local/911-commissioner-5-minute-dispatch-delay-blamed-partly-for-fiery-death http://cnycentral.com/news/local/fire-victim-tells-911-call-taker-i-dont-want-to-die-during-dispatch-delay https://youtu.be/WqkQpYKN65E https://youtu.be/TAsu2G4oWpo https://youtu.be/vLbMZltc-sE https://youtu.be/IGy14aM64GI
  • EMS in Iowa

    The stories detailed Iowa's broken EMS system, and included detailed findings on violent criminals working as EMTs, the lack of state oversight, the shortage of volunteers, and the laws that require the state to keep secret the response times of ambulance services.
  • EMTs & Emergency Medical Services: How a Broken System Endagers Iowans

    The stories detailed Iowa's broken EMS system, and included detailed findings on violent criminals working as EMTs, the lack of state oversight, the shortage of volunteers, and the laws that require the state to keep secret the response times of ambulance services.
  • Addressing 911

    It all started with a tip from people on the front lines, and quickly unraveled into a story that has sparked much needed oversight of Ingham County's new consolidated 911 center. The center merged two 911 dispatch centers into one back in June of 2012. In October, a group of first responders approached Reporter Ann Emmerich with alarming concerns about problems within the system. They believed at least two deaths could be connected to delayed response times because emergency crews were sent to the wrong address. They also believed county officials were trying to "cover up" the problems. Using the Freedom of Information Act, Ann Emmerich began digging into records from the 911 Dispatch Center. She obtained documented complaints from the Lansing Fire Department, call logs from the dispatch center, and time stamped recordings of 911 calls. Just days after Emmerich made those FOIA requests, Lansing's Mayor announced he would form a task force to investigate concerns with the County's 911 Center. At the time, there was no advisory board in place to oversee the center. Once officials went public with the formation of a task force, the original board that worked to establish the 911 center was brought back together to begin oversight.
  • Parking Patients

    "Parking Patients" examined the amount of time hospitals in the Memphis area were taking to assume custody of patients brought to their emergency departments by city ambulances. In hundreds of cases we found patients were spending hours strapped to ambulance stretchers, waiting inside emergency departments for hospital staff to sign off on the transfer of care. In the meantime, city paramedics were tied up waiting with the patients and unavailable to answer other emergency calls. We found dozens of cases in the last year in which the city ran out of available ambulances to answer these calls, and had to rely on private companies to fill the gap, sometimes resulting in longer response times. The fire department blamed these shortages on the practice of hospitals using paramedics as "free labor."
  • Lost Ambulances

    "Many people think GPS will lead people in the right direction, including 911 operators. One operator made a critical mistake not taking down directions and assuming the county's 911 mapping system would lead the ambulance in the right direction. What she didn't know is more than 40 RV and trailer parks did not show up in that mapping system."
  • Reasonable Doubt

    Maricopa County Sheriff's Office was found to violate federal civil rights regulations when deputies began focusing on immigration enforcement. The arrest rate plummeted and response time on life-threatening emergency calls slowed dramatically as spending soared to help crack down on illegal immigrants.