Sunday, January 13, 2013
Report issued late last week says outage following June derecho in Northern Virginia and other parts of the country was "unacceptable."
The Federal Communications Commission plans to introduce new rules to strengthen the reliability and resiliency of 9-1-1 communications networks during disasters in the wake of a storm last summer that left Northern Virginia without 9-1-1 service, the federal agency said in a news release this week “These failures are unacceptable and the FCC will do whatever is necessary to ensure the reliability of 9-1-1," Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said. The announcement late last week coincides with the regulatory agency's release of a report (attached with this story) about the 9-1-1 service failure June 29 to 30, after the derecho storm hit Northern Virginia and other parts of the country. The derecho that struck …
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Telecommunications company has spent months making improvements in hopes of avoiding another 911 system failure.
An estimated 2.3 million people lost access to 911 service this summer when the area was hit by a derecho. Now, with Hurricane Sandy lined up to potentially slam Northern Virginia, Verizon — the company that provides the emergency communication service — is confident that the long list of improvements it has made in the months since are enough to weather the storm. "We're ready for Sandy," Verizon spokesman Harry J. Mitchell told Patch in an interview Friday evening. In late September, Verizon released an 11-page Moving Forward presentation (see the PDF attached at the right) outlining the issues with its power system and internal and external communication that contributed to the 911 system failure — and the steps that have been or will …
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Fairfax County encourages residents to take a brief online survey.
As hurricane season looms, Fairfax County officials want to know how they can improve their communications during times of crisis, and they’re seeking feedback from residents. After the June 29 derecho that killed four people in Fairfax County and damaged more than 100 homes, officials want to know how they can best interact with residents and business owners during emergencies like severe weather, hurricanes or even terrorist attacks. “We’re asking for every resident to provide input, as well as business owners,” said David McKernan, coordinator for the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management, in a release on the county’s web site. “It’s important for us as emergency planners to learn how this storm affected our residents, …
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Communications company explains 911 outage, among others, at town hall Thursday
Generator problems are to blame for Verizon's response to the June 29 derecho storm, according to a presentation from a company representative Thursday during a town hall meeting hosted by Del. Kaye Kory’s (D-38th) in Falls Church. Doug Sullivan, of Verizon, said the derecho storm "downed more poles and generated more commercial trouble tickets for Verizon than Hurricane Irene" and blamed the loss of service, particularly to the 911 network, on "multiple failures cascading from the generator problems." Due to the power outage Verizon did not have enough information to create a plan to fix the damage and restore power to its customers. "It is very scary to be without any kind of communication or air conditioning when we experience a million…
Monday, August 27, 2012
Representative from power company gives insight into response to June 29 storm
Dominion Virginia Power blamed a lack of advance preparation time for their week-long power restoration following the June 29 derecho storm, the company said in a presentation Thursday during a Town Hall meeting hosted by Del. Kaye Kory's (D-38th) in Falls Church. “It is very scary to be without any kind of communication or air conditioning when we experience a million-year storm," said Kory, who called the meeting so residents had a chance to communicate directly with the service providers. Dominion's problems stemmed largely from the storm's sudden arrival, the company said. "This was the equivalent of a hurricane moving across the nation with little time for preparation," said Tim Sargeant, manager for state and local affairs with …
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Town seeks names of businesses who went above and beyond in late June storm
Hundreds of thousands of people across Virginia, including many in Vienna, were without power, a refrigerator, fresh food and air conditioning after the derecho struck the area June 29. But the damage didn't completely shut Vienna down. A month later, the Town of Vienna is looking to recognize those businesses that opened their doors and made a difference -- through food service, a helping hand or morale boost -- before, during and after the storm. "We want to recognize those businesses who continually support our community in all kinds of conditions," Public Information Officer Kirstyn Barr said Monday. Typically, the town recognizes all volunteers during Mayor Jane Seeman's annual volunteer day, Barr said. "But we wanted to take this …
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
System allows county to share damage reports with state and federal offices.
Fairfax County residents can now report damage from storms, hurricanes, fires and more with a new online tool. The county’s Office of Emergency Management launched the disaster reporting system after the June 29 derecho that killed 13 people in Virginia, four of them in Fairfax County. Falling trees from the storm damaged more than 100 area homes. According to the county’s emergency blog, the system allows the county to share damage reports with Virginia state officials, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or the U.S. Small Business Administration. The reports will allow authorities to determine whether the county can be declared a major disaster area and what assistance should be given to affected county residents. Residents are …
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
National Weather Service looks at the phenomenon that wreaked havoc in Fairfax County.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
While Fairfax County picked up the pieces left by the derecho in late June, the National Weather Service in Sterling picked apart the rare storm. NWS analysts say in a case study of the June 29 weather event that derechos are relatively uncommon to this region, especially ones of this magnitude. Typically, the Mid-Atlantic region might experience a derecho once every two to four years, the report says. The last significant derecho in our region occurred on June 4, 2008. More than 20 deaths have been blamed on the storm, which stretched from Indiana to North Carolina. In Northern Virginia, more than one million people were without power for days. Read the full NWS case study here.
Monday, July 9, 2012
Post-Derecho the telecommunications company is continuing to restore service to all customers in Northern Virginia.
A possible tornado in Fredericksburg, a derecho and other severe weather have thrown service out of commission for many Verizon customers. Since June 29, Verizon has been experiencing service outages due to the freak weather occurances and has been assessing and repairing damage. "After Verizon technicians worked extended shifts throughout the weekend, the company’s service levels are nearly back to normal in most of the Washington metropolitan area," said a prepared statement from the company. "Company technicians now are focusing on service restoral for several hundred customers in areas technicians could not previously reach due to downed power lines." The possible tornado in Fredericksburg downed approximately 20 power poles. "As of …
Friday, July 6, 2012
The Derecho of 2012 has given us insight into our relationship with technology.
A snapshot of summer 2012 so far: Tyson's Corner is filled with laptopped exiles basking in air conditioning, power outlets and WiFi. People drive around tree-riddled neighborhoods getting a dose of cool air and charging their phones before discovering that open gas stations are a little more far flung then expected. Friends with power and internet access become ports in the storm. I was one of the lucky ones, our power flickered but it returned. Our FiOS phones and local TV channels went out and cell phone signal was down to a single bar of non-3G coverage. It was strange to have great internet signal while no phone service. I was very thankful and cognizant that others had suffered damage to their house, lost power and were suffering in …