D.C.

Verizon to expose errors during Derecho storms, report says

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Verizon is preparing to release a report on widespread failures with its 911 backup systems during June’s Derecho storm.

The Washington Post reports Verizon officials didn’t know 911 service was out in Fairfax County and other parts of Northern Virginia until they were told by local leaders.

A Verizon vice president also told the Post that the company made a mistake in treating the 911 outage as a service complaint, not a widespread problem.

The company says instead of having a “army” of people respond to the emergency, it only had a small group of people on hand.

At the height of the Derecho, 911 service was out to nearly 2.3 million residents in Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William counties.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” says Kristen Regini. “I mean with the technology these days, you should be able to call anybody.”

The report sheds light on some of the internal issues that had 911 service in shambles for roughly five days, including faulty generators, drained batteries and human error.

Officials say after the storm knocked out power at Verizon’s Arlington and Fairfax facilities, back-up batteries and generators should have kicked in, but failed. Consequently, when people were calling 911, dispatchers were not able to see incoming numbers or addresses.

The report is set to be released Wednesday at a meeting with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

“It’s discomforting because it showed the systems didn't work,” says Paul Krumsik

 

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