The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking public comment into the 911 system failures during the June 29 derecho storm.
The impact of the storm was particularly severe in Manassas, Manassas Park and Prince William and Fairfax counties, where lost access to 911 services for up to four days following the late-June derecho.
Local government officials indicated to FCC that public safety answering points, which process calls to 911 facilities, failed, as did traditional, broadband and wireless backup systems, according to a public notice issued by the FCC.
The FCC joined forces with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) immediately after the storm hit to launch an investigation into the failures. The FCC began working with service providers and other stakeholders to learn more about the causes of the failures, ways to make the public safer and avoid future outages, the notice read.
Now the FCC is seeking public comment on the issue.
"The Bureau seeks comment on the background, causes, and restoration efforts related to communications services and facilities impacted directly or indirectly by the storm and after. It seeks to develop a complete and accurate record of all the facts surrounding the outages during this storm as well as outages resulting from natural disasters in order to evaluate the overall resiliency and reliability of our Nation’s 911 systems and services," the public notice reads. "We also seek comment on the impact these outages had on the various segments of the public, including consumers, hospitals, and public safety entities."
Read the attached PDF for questions being posed by the FCC regarding the derecho impact, effects, and restoration efforts.
Comments are due by Aug. 17 and reply comments are due by Sept. 17. Comments may be filed electronically. More information on how to submit your comments available in the attached PDF
Congressmen have also asked that the commission that would have required all telecommunications companies to provide at least eight hours of backup power for all cell phones, and Prince William County government officials into the outages after the recent storm.
A brought a wave of destruction to the Manassas-area on June 29. The storm presented damaging effects, including wide-spread power and phone outages in addition to the mass 911 system failure.
Patch editor Jason Spencer contributed to this report.