People in York County lost their right to effectively assess emergency
time response when a county judge ruled Thursday that addresses, cross
streets or block addresses are not part of the county’s time-response
log — data that is made public by the state’s new right-to-know law.
Some people commenting on the story applauded the judge’s decision,
for various reasons. Here are some, including our response:
can read can you‘ wrote, “I don’t believe your intent was to show that
‘hopefully emergency responders were doing a great job.’ It should
sound like ‘how can we trash someone over something whenever we get the
- When managing editor Randy Parker said what’s
quoted above (the “hopefully” part), he meant that the best possible
outcome would be that York County’s emergency services are responding
in a timely manner, meeting local, state or national standards, and
serving the public effectively. In other words, nobody hopes that the
county’s first responders are failing, even occasionally. But in order
to find out, you need response times and locations.
- ‘Peter‘ wrote, “But how will YDR be able to list the victims’ names and addresses, so
that EVERYBODY will know who they are, AND where they live??”
wouldn’t have listed everyone’s name and address. There would be no
point in doing so. The reason we asked for either addresses, cross
streets or block numbers was so that, when you look at how long it took
a fire truck to get from the station to the scene, you would have a way
to measure that response.
- ‘Harold Knows‘ wrote, “we all know that the information is only wanted for use in other stories and to invade others’ privacy.”
wanted the information to audit emergency time response in York County,
to be one voice in assessing how quickly first responders arrive at
scenes. First responders, obviously, do a vital job. The county’s time
response log information, had it included geographical locations of
some kind, would have allowed an independent assessment.
I think it’s important to note a few things:
county agrees that addresses or geographical locations are needed to
effectively assess response time. County lawyer Michael Flannelly, in
his brief in this case, wrote, “…precise addresses would be the best
indicator of the responsiveness of the 911 Department and
- The legislator who
sponsored the new Right-to-Know Law intended addresses or geographic
locators to be part of time-response logs. Erik Arneson, community and
policy director for Sen. Dominic Pileggi, has said, “…
Sen. Pileggi authored the bill and if anyone had asked him, he would
have been very clear. Unfortunately, there is no clear definition of
time response logs so the subject is open to interpretation.
“But our absolute clear intent . . . is that some sort of useful
identifier should be part of the time response log.”
county’s concern that releasing addresses as part of time-response logs
would or could endanger crime victims almost certainly would not come
into play in an audit of response times. In fact, the YDR asked the
county if it would release block addresses or cross streets — a
compromise that would allow an assessment of response times while
resolving the county’s privacy concerns — but the county refused.
a valid response-time audit can be done if you don’t know where the
units were headed? It boils down to the difference between
“Fire Company A was dispatched at 9:30 p.m. and arrived on scene at 9:40 p.m.”
“Fire Company A was dispatched from 100 Main Street at 9:30
p.m. and arrived at the 500 block of Main Street at 9:40
If you want to know whether Fire Company A was fast or
slow to respond, the first description wouldn’t help;
the second would.
I welcome your comments.