911 system vulnerable to Y2K problems [snips]

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For Lou: Today is May 12, 1999. Regards 911 systems configured to serve populations of more 50,0000 (arbitrary number arrived at unscientifically):

As presently configured, I hold no expection that there will be one city that will go through roll-over without experiencing a reportable degradation of service due to data corruption.

Community resilience, beginning with individual responsibility, will determine the quality of emergency care and public safety.

Why might I be concerned about the stability of public safety software?

With less than nine months remaining before the millennium, the status of thousands of 911 answering sites is still largely unknown.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency sent questionnaires to agencies that are known to operate a 911 answering system, or Public Safety Answering Point, as they are officially known. So far only 18 percent have answered, and of those only one system in six was reported to be safe from the computer flaw.

These systems usually log the date and time of a call automatically  a recording system that easily could fail if computers become confused about the correct date.

Although authorities are aware of the problem, no one is directly responsible for fixing it.

There is no single configuration for emergency communications, nor is there a uniform entity responsible for maintaining the system across the nation, or even within a particular state, said Powell. The processing of the call is controlled by a myriad of different entities, none of which have a regulatory tie to the FCC.

Lou, I started looking at this problem last summer. In my perspective, the conclusions I drew, the industry effort to appropriately assess and remediate 911 systems did not match the scope of problems then identified. So, I turned to contingency planning and individual responsibility.

And, I've never looked back.

Good luck with your work.

Full text: Officials say 911 system vulnerable to Y2K problems


-- Critt Jarvis (middleground@critt.com), May 12, 1999


thanks. critt, i mentioned 911 problems at last night's amateur radio meeting, but no one was listening.

-- jocelyne slough (jonslough@tln.net), May 12, 1999.

Thanks Critt

Another thought to ponder. Most 911 systems rely on relay antennae, usually located on higher hills in a given area. These are all electrically operated and guess what - no power - no relay. It is really going to be hard to get the calls out to the units in the field because of all the upgrading done in recent years to police/fire communications. Around here, most of these relay stations have backup generators that come on automatically for whatever period there is no power. I know someone who is having a heck of a time convincing the powers that be to actually stockpile a little extra fuel to run these generators. No fuel =no generated power =no relay = no communications after about 3 days max. Even if you get thru to 911 - how they gonna tell police/fire to go to your farm? Military will take a least a week to get their portable relays set up after they are activated. Seems like once again, every thing comes down to that good ol' power grid thing.

-- Valkyrie (anon@please. net), May 12, 1999.

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