In an emergency, everyone expects to be able to call 911 for help. But in our area over the last few months, there has been trouble with 911 service failing. Why is it happening and can it be prevented in the future?
That was the focus of a special hearing at the Wilson Building Thursday.
Chairman of the D.C. Council Phil Mendelson conducted a judiciary hearing to look into the reliability of 911 service in the District.
The hearing focused on two recent events in D.C. and in Virginia. In March, an electrical feeder and backup power to the D.C.'s 911 center failed. In late June, strong storms knocked out 911 service to millions of residents in northern Virginia.
"Our backup systems should have withstood the derecho without resulting in 911 outages. They did not," Verizon's Regional Vice President, Anthony Lewis told the committee.
Lewis says many generators failed as the storm came through, shutting down several 911 centers.
Verizon has launched a sweeping audit of their system and has made improvements to the generators that failed in June.
The FCC is also conducting an independent investigation. A report by that agency should be released by the end of the year.