“911 outage lasted a little more than 90 minutes last night. No evidence of outside hacking.”

by Prince Of Petworth August 28, 2016 at 10:14 am 13 Comments

911 out
Photo by PoPville flickr user John Sonderman

Just after 12:30am this alarming tweet was sent:

From a briefing this morning:

Updates when the full press release is issued.

  • a joke in your town

    So, an estimated 260 missed calls? I hope none of them were important.

    • Kevin

      On a Saturday night at that 0_0. Also saw that portable radio communications were severely hampered too. Surprised this isn’t a bigger story.

  • Anon

    And what about all the people who do not know to check twitter while they are simultaneously experiencing an emergency? Gotta be a better way to get the information out.

    • I received an email alert at the same time. If you’re signed up for alerts with DC you should have gotten one (and if you’re not signed up you should). Pretty much everyone in this era has an email account, or should, even many homeless people. I can’t imagine a more efficient way of notifying the public.

      • CHGal

        It came out via text as well, if you’re signed up for that alert.

      • Leeran

        “Pretty much everyone in this era has an email account, or should, even many homeless people”

        Please don’t try to make this acceptable — it’s not. If you call 911, you should be able to connect with a human. This is simple & important for many, many reasons.

        Even if someone gets DC texts or emails, they’re not necessarily checking them every 5 minutes.

        • Absolutely nowhere in my post did I say that an outage was acceptable. I’m merely commenting on the fact that not having a Twitter account isn’t an excuse for not knowing about the outage.

          • Leeran

            Okay — just wanted to point out that I and others read the comment as saying the issue was with people checking their alerts, and not the fact that, say, 911 was down for 90 minutes in a major metro area.

      • HaileUnlikely

        I basically agree with this, but lots of people silence their cell phones overnight (the quantity of nuisance alerts from DC SMS alone is overwhelming, e.g., “Heat Emergency Deactivated” – thank goodness I was alerted to that!, and if waking up to a true emergency in the middle of the night, nobody is going to sit there and read their missed text messages before or while attempting to call 911. DC’s 911 system has had several major outages in the past few years and it is completely unacceptable and downright embarrassing for this to happen in the capital of the United States. It’s not as if we’re talking about Wells Fargo’s phone line, we’re talking about 911.

        • So how would you prefer they notify people of an outage? Go door to door knocking?

          • HaileUnlikely

            I’ll stipulate that this is probably the best they can do as far as notifying people goes, but we have way too many outages and basically treat it like it’s no big deal.

          • textdoc

            +1 to HaileUnlikely. Maybe this is the best they can do as far as notifying people… but they/Verizon really shouldn’t be having these outages in the first place.
            FWIW, I didn’t know about the outage until I saw e-mails from two D.C. government officials in a neighborhood listserve. (I’m not signed up for phone alerts.) One e-mailed at 1:26 a.m. Sunday morning (apparently about an hour after the outage started?) to say that there was an outage, and the other e-mailed at 2:20 a.m. to say that it had been resolved.

  • HaileUnlikely

    P.S. This is not a new problem, here or elsewhere in the region. Verizon has demonstrated numerous times that it is unable or unwilling to provide the reliability of service that we should be requiring from a contractor who is responsible for 911 services in DC and across the region.



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