Verizon releases report on 911 outages during June 29th derecho - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Verizon releases report on 911 outages during June 29th derecho storm

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WASHINGTON -

The derecho that ravaged the Mid-Atlantic region in late June left Fairfax County and other parts of northern Virginia with no 911 service. Some areas were out for several hours and others for an entire weekend.

Verizon has now released a comprehensive report explaining the reasons for the 911 outages and corrective steps it is taking to prevent such blackouts in the future.

Verizon admits if one 911 call did not go through, they had a problem. The report acknowledges failures in backup batteries and generators. 

Verizon Mid-Atlantic Region Vice President Tony Lewis told FOX 5 that since the utility now knows what knocked out the 911 service, it is taking action that will hopefully prevent such widespread loss of 911 service in the future. 

The report starts out stressing that the June 29th derecho was an extremely unusual storm that downed more poles and generated more commercial trouble tickets for Verizon than Hurricane Irene.

The report says external power failures affected more than 100 Verizon locations. But at two of those locations in Arlington and Fairfax, backup batteries drained and generators failed to start.

So Fairfax County, Prince William County and Manassas did not receive 911 calls for several hours on Saturday, June 30, and Manassas Park did not receive 911 calls for much of that weekend.

Verizon is now conducting a backup power system audit of critical facilities throughout the entire D.C. metro region.

"The first thing we did was go to that Arlington office and that Fairfax office, do those audits, put in place all of the things we need to do in order to prevent this from happening again in those two offices, and then we'll start across the rest of the region," said Lewis. "So it's already started. Nothing is more important to us than making sure that this 911 system works day in and day out, 24 [hours], seven [days a week], at all times."

Lewis said there is no time frame on when they will complete the audits in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. He said this was the first time Verizon has ever seen this magnitude of 911 outages and stressed he hopes never to see it again.

Online:

Report: Verizon 911 Service During June 29 Derecho Storm


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