Thursday, January 31, 2013

FCC Issues Report on Loss of E9-1-1 During June 2012 Storm

In the closing days of June 2012, a violent straight-line wind storm technically known as a derecho hit several eastern Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states. As related in a post this blog ran after that event, the derecho knocked out power for millions, and E9-1-1 service for many, particularly those living in Northern Virginia near Washington, DC. That widespread loss of E9-1-1 systems near the U.S. Capital gave pause to many and resulted in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) convening a special panel to look into causes and recommend improvements. On January 13, 2013, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn released those findings as the culmination of the investigation. Key determinations included a conclusion that "system monitoring" best practices already known in the industry, weren't being followed. Below, for details:

(FCC, January 13, 2013)

Comment: Toward the very end of the 53 page report (7.4), the authors note that Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) systems would have avoided many of the problems that beset the older E9-1-1 systems during this storm. And as the National Alliance for Public Safety GIS (NAPSG) has appropriately pointed out in the past - NG9-1-1 won't work without use of robust GIS and high quality data. Add to that NAPSG's recommendation U.S. National Grid functionality should be considered an important component of any future NG9-1-1 buildout, and it looks like lots of folks have a whole heap of work to do.

Lead graphic: FCC

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