More on the Fort Worth 911 Outage

I’ve been following this story because I simply could not understand how the power outage happened. The storms we had that day weren’t severe, there was no wide spread or even localized power outage reported and no winds to speak of.

Turns out they did it to themselves

The problem followed a routine test of the 911 system, city officials said.

After the test, a circuit breaker popped, causing the 911 system to lose hardline power, said Doug Wiersig, the city’s transportation and public works director.

Well finding problems is why you test the system so not a big issue, right?

The system reverted to battery backup. Employees mistakenly believed they had fixed the problem, but the system continued to operate on battery power, unnoticed, Wiersig said.

Read that last part very carefully. Fully trained, qualified personnel ready for problems (due to the testing aspect) failed to notice the system was still functioning on battery power. I find it incredibly incompetent that they didn’t confirm the battery system wasn’t providing power.

The battery backup system began sending warning messages, but the modem wasn’t working, so the messages didn’t transmit, Wiersig said. The 911 system went down when the battery power ran down, and control room personnel noticed the problem at that point, Wiersig said.

Guess their testing isn’t as thorough as it needs to be, eh? Makes me wonder what other systems have not been tested and aren’t working. And definitely reduces my confidence in the 911 system in Fort Worth (I work in Fort Worth) and every other city. If a major city like Fort Worth; with money, personnel and time to spare for testing has these types of problems- what about other smaller cities?

At that point, workers moved to transfer the system to Arlington’s 911 center but weren’t able to without power. Working with the city’s telecom provider, workers manually threw a switch that transferred Fort Worth’s system to Arlington’s, Wiersig said.

Hmmm, and this was a test where the city hadn’t lost power in areas, remember? Think the system will function when major areas are disrupted by a tornado or terrorist attack? I don’t.

Fort Worth is replacing the bad breaker and modem and putting in more battery backups and alarms, Wiersig said.

Folks, I am not anti-911. That wonderful system has a place in the spectrum of emergency responses…..but clearly it shouldn’t be your primary response. We have to be our own first responder in the majority of cases.

To say otherwise is to deny common sense.

We wouldn’t call 911 for an ambulance every time one of our children were injured, right?
We would go to them, assess the injury, treat it with first aid if appropriate, determine if we needed to go to the hospital immediately or at all.

We wouldn’t call 911 for the fire department every time we smelled smoke, right? We would locate the source,   determine the size and source (hey burning leaves is allowed in many areas and our neighbors might get a little upset if we doused their barbeque), then determine if we could handle it. In most cases, calling 911 isn’t needed for household fires.

So why do the anti-rights cultists advocate throwing common sense out the window when it comes to our safety?  It just doesn’t make sense to solely depend the 911 system for self defense.
Remember in all of this the system was down for 24 minutes. 224 phone calls were missed during that time. If you don’t think 24 minutes is a long time, slowly count to 1,440 while imagining what a thug could be doing to you or your family.



2 Responses to this post.

  1. Posted by kx59 on 13.02.13 at 10:47

    Self reliance becomes less and less common as each year passes.
    These days, if there’s not an app for it, people are clueless.

  2. Posted by Paul Kanesky on 13.02.13 at 10:47

    Even if the system worked perfectly, it still takes time to dispatch emergency responders.
    Even amatuer sttempts at first aid, (stop the bleeding etc.) fire control (water and extinguishers)
    when it is safe to do so. and self defense when attacked by a criminal is only (to use the antis favorite expression) “common sense.
    Paul in Texas