WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Verizon Failures Led To June's Extended 911 Outage

Play associated audio
Residents in parts of Northern Virginia had trouble accessing 911 emergency systems after a strong storm ripped through the region June 29.
Jonathan Wilson
Residents in parts of Northern Virginia had trouble accessing 911 emergency systems after a strong storm ripped through the region June 29.

Verizon is acknowledging widespread failures in its 911 systems in Northern Virginia during and after the "derecho" storm that struck the region in June, the Associated Press reports. 

The company found large scale failures in its 911 emergency backup system during the derecho storm on June 29, according to a scathing report expected to be presented to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Verizon did not know the system was out in Fairfax County until the county alerted it, the report and Verizon officials say.

Fairfax County 911 director Steve Souder says Verizon lost power at a key facility in Arlington, which caused the whole system to crash.

"The problem was that it switched to the batteries, but it didn t go to the generator, so consequentially and unbeknownst to them, they are running on battery when they think they're running on generator," says Souder.

The emergency call system remain out for more than 24 hours after the storm, forcing Fairfax County and Arlington County officials to advise residents to report to fire stations in person if they needed to report an emergency. 

Verizon also admits in the report that there were problems with Arlington's 911 system during the storm's aftermath — something the company had previously denied.  Drained batteries, faulty generators and a failure of staff to fully explore the problem contributed to delays in restoring full 911 service, the report says. 

The company also erred when it decided to treat the problem as a service complaint rather than a large scale outage, a Verizon official tells the AP. Verizon is now auditing backup power systems throughout the was region. 

A more detailed explanation will be presented to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments this fall.

NPR

Writer James Alan McPherson, Winner Of Pulitzer, MacArthur And Guggenheim, Dies At 72

McPherson, the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, has died at 72. His work explored the intersection of white and black lives with deftness, subtlety and wry humor.
NPR

QUIZ: How Much Do You Know About Presidents And Food?

It's week two of the party conventions, and all these speeches are making us hungry. So we made a quiz to test your savvy about presidents and our favorite topic, food.
WAMU 88.5

Your Turn: Ronald Reagan's Shooter, Freddie Gray Verdicts And More

Have opinions about the Democratic National Convention, or the verdicts from the Freddie Gray cases? It's your turn to talk.

NPR

Trump's Cyber Comments Rouse The Democrats

As they bolster their case that Hillary Clinton is ready to be commander in chief, Democrats are seizing on Donald Trump's comments seemingly encouraging Russia to use cyber-espionage against Clinton.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.