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 …
Friday, August 31, 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 meeting.
Generator problems are to blame for Verizon's response to the June 29 derecho storm, a company representative said Thursday during a town hall meeting hosted by Del. Kaye Kory (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-year storm,” said Kory, who …
Monday, August 27, 2012
Fairfax County filed a formal report with the Federal Communications Commission against Verizon.
Fairfax County officials have filed a formal report with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding widespread 911 failures in the area during and after the June 29 derecho. The rare and intense storm caused the deaths of four county residents and damaged more than 100 homes. According to a July report from the county, 911 calls received in the county increased by 415 percent in the four hours after the derecho hit at roughly 10:30 p.m. on June 29. But from 7:36 a.m. until 3 p.m. on June 30, 911 services disappeared. The county’s new comments to the FCC blame the 911 outage on the failure of Verizon’s backup power sources and damage to equipment in the area. These factors, combined with what the county deems “Verizon’s failure …
Friday, August 3, 2012
New Environment Virginia report says extreme rain and snow storms are becoming more frequent.
Extreme rainstorms are occurring 33 percent more frequently in Virginia since 1948, according to a new Environment Virginia report. Based on an analysis of state data from the National Climatic Data Center, the report released Tuesday found that heavy downpours that used to happen once every 12 months on average in state now happen every nine months on average. Moreover, the biggest storms are getting bigger. The largest annual storms in Virginia now produce 11 percent more precipitation, on average, than they did 65 years ago. Alexandria and surrounding areas were hit hard by the derecho storm less than one month ago. Key findings from the report for Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic include:
Monday, July 16, 2012
Fairfax County has an online form where residents can report storm damage.
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 Virginia, including four 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 urged…
Friday, July 13, 2012
Moran, Connolly, Wolf want the FCC to reconsider a regulation concerning backup power that the commission proposed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Northern Virginia's three congressmen called on the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday to take action that will prevent future outages to the region's 911 systems. In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, U.S. Reps. Jim Moran, Gerry Connolly and Frank Wolf asked that the commission dust off a post-Hurricane Katrina regulation that would have required all telecommunications companies to provide at least eight hours of backup power for all cell phone towers. The regulation was subsequently struck down on a technicality related to how the commission handled public comments, according to a news release. “In the event of an emergency situation, whether it be a natural disaster or man-made threat, the public needs confidence …
Monday, July 9, 2012
Our Daily Bread is seeking donations of grocery store gift cards to help replenish the nonperishable food for many who lost power during the July 29 super derecho storm.
- LOCAL CONNECTIONS
Monday, July 9, 2012
Our Daily Bread is asking communities in the Northern Virginia region for help restocking after the super derecho knocked out power for days for many area residents on June 29. The organization says restocking the refrigerator may have been an unexpected and expensive cost for many people after the storm, especially for low-income families. Our Daily Bread’s clients are in need of grocery store gift cards in $10 and $20 increments so they can purchase perishable items such as fresh produce, milk, eggs and meat. The organization says it does not provide non-perishable items to clients, but instead gives them small gift cards they so they may buy items best suited for their family’s dietary needs. Our Daily Bread put out its initial request …
Sunday, July 8, 2012
This week's big news includes recovery from the super derecho, officials talked about the future of fairfax county, and we're still seeking nominations for Readers Choice.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
The Super Derecho Storm coverage dominated the news this past week, as thousands of Fairfax County residents waited out their power outage in the heat and dark. The derecho knocked out power to more than 1 million people in Virginia, Maryland and the District—the largest non-hurricane outage in Virginia’s history. Fairfax County officials are asking Verizon to investigate the failure of the 911 system in Fairfax and other jurisdictions. Here’s information on debris pick-up in Fairfax County. If you're within the Town of Herndon limits, normal cut-and-bundle rules regarding curbside collection of debris are waived until Friday, July 13. Check out photos of storm damage in Herndon. Poll: What got you through the power outage? Crime A dog …
Monday, July 2, 2012
Sudden wind storm Friday night was one of the worst to hit Northern Virginia, leaving thousands without power.
In the aftermath of the powerful derecho storm that hit Northern Virginia Friday night, thousands are still without power three days later, suffering through high temperatures with no air-conditioning, watching food spoil and feeling disconnected without TV, Internet and in some cases phone service. On Monday afternoon, Dominion Power reported that about 160,000 in Northern Virginia were still without power. Many local residents checked into local hotels to escape the heat or found local coffee shops to charge up phones. Were you without power or are you still waiting for the lights to come back on? What do you miss most when the power goes out? Take our poll and feel free to add your comments about what you miss most when the power goes …