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Power Failure At 911 Center Takes Out D.C. Police Radios

D.C.'s police radios and 911 system fell victim to a power outage yesterday.
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D.C.'s police radios and 911 system fell victim to a power outage yesterday.

A power failure at the District's communication center affected 911 services and severely impacted the radio communications system used by police for five minutes.

Officials say it happened yesterday at just before 1 p.m. when the city's Unified Communications Center lost power. The center handles 911 calls for the police and fire departments.

Authorities say the communications center had been using generator power for about 13 hours because of irregular interruptions in the building's power supply. The generators failed, causing what officials called "a catastrophic communications failure.''

Officials say the failure resulted in longer-than-expected wait times for 911 callers and also affected radio communications for police and firefighters.

Officials say firefighters' radios immediately went into back-up mode, but police communications were severely impacted for five minutes.

A spokesperson for the city's Unified Communications Center says they're working with the Department of General Services to determine the cause of the outage.

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