Pa. City's 9-1-1 Dispatch System Fails for Second Time in Month

Dispatchers used hand-held radios to call out ambulance crews for two hours


 
 

Rich Cholodofsky, Tribune-Review | | Monday, March 12, 2012


WESTMORELAND, Pa. -- For the second time in a month, technical problems at Westmoreland County's 911 center forced emergency dispatchers to use portable radios to send out rescue crews.

The dispatching component of the system failed for about two hours on Thursday night. Officials blamed a software glitch related to a power outage that shut down the system two weeks earlier.

"Everything still functioned, but we lost some functionality at the console. No (911) calls were affected but we weren't able to talk on the console radios," said spokesman Dan Stevens of the Public Safety Department. "Calls were not affected in any way, shape or form."

Dispatchers used hand-held radios to call out police, fire and ambulance crews until the dispatch system was reset during a two-hour period.

On Feb. 27, the 911 center lost power for seven minutes, leaving dispatchers unable to accept calls or to issue rescue calls. That incident was blamed on a bridge power source that failed to kick in after electricity at the center was taken down to repair a generator.

That failure caused the computer systems to go offline and then reboot when an emergency generator kicked in.

Officials said yesterday that the previous outage might have been responsible for the latest failure.

"They feel the issue was a corrupt (computer) file because of the power outage that went down last week," Stevens said.

Repair crews spent Friday reloading computer software in an effort to correct the problem, Stevens said.



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