This is Disconcerting – D.C. police and fire communications Goes Down Mon. Night

DC trash fire
Photo from PoPville flickr user Tyrannous

From Local NBC News:

“The fire and public safety radio system went down about 7:15 p.m., according to D.C. fire. The fire department operated on backup systems, including portable and mobile radios and sub channels from Montgomery and Arlington counties.”

I’m really curious to know what happened here. I mean sometimes shit just happens. But the potential for disaster here seems pretty high. I will update as more info becomes available.

13 Comment

  • Emmaleigh504

    Very disconcerting.

  • Which is why there is a backup system…..

  • they should switch to twitter

  • I know DC Fire/EMS were using a channel on Montgomery County’s radio system for some period of time last night. I heard the system went down due to a power outage and that a backup generator also failed.

    • Also although this sounds kinda catastrophic, there are systems in place so that communications don’t totally break down. Portable radios have a failsafe mode they can revert to that still allow some level of communications, and if that doesn’t work there’s a regional supply of portable radios and temporary repeaters that can be brought in and put in place fairly quickly if needed.

  • I just love that photo. I wonder if the cop in the picture even stopped to investigate that fire….

  • I heard DC Police had to use their own cellphones to communicate. Why does MPD not have a better backup system in place. This could have been catastrophic.

  • The link in the OP has been updated with the cause of the problem and the resolution. 911 calls weren’t affected.

    Question- why were people concerned? The OP stated once the system went down the FD operated on backup systems. Makes sense to me. No cause for alarm.

  • The police are seriously understating how catastrophic this failure was. The police radio system went down completely; it has a “failsoft” mode that provides full geographic coverage at lower capacity, but this “failsoft” mode also failed. All police radios became useless. The so-called backups were the in-vehicle computers (no help if you’re out of the vehicle) and individual officers’ cell phones.

    Not sure which is worse: the incompetence of those who designed the DC (!!!) police radio system without adequate redundancy, or the blithe disingenuousness of the officials who are saying this was “no big deal.”

  • And yet the city makes citizens jump through an extraordinary amount of hoops to own a gun. The city can’t even run the 911 system and yet somehow we’re supposed to rely on them for safety. Fuck you Fenty. Fuck you Gray. Fuck you city council. Either let us have our guns, or just admit that you want innocent citizens to die. It’s one or the other. You have now proven you can’t protect us.

  • The system was down for about two to two and a half hours, but it was handled well by my district…we came in, took assignments and didn’t have a full board. Yeah, it was a pain in the ass and we had to initially rely on cell phones, but we all just rode a few people to a car, went to a scene and cleared it quickly and left. Dangerous? Sure. Pain in the ass? Definitely. The main thing it cut down on was self-initiated enforcement activities.

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