911 out in downtown Raleigh, cause not specified

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Local TV has just reported that 911 service is out in downtown Raleigh (NC) and Southern Bell does not know when service will be restored. Y2K was NOT mentioned and there are no indications that it is a Y2K problem. Calls to 911 are not disconnecting, thereby clogging the system and returning busy signals to all other incoming calls. No alternative number was given by the station, presumably because the glitch affects all the phones at the 911 center; the only action taken, apparently, is that extra units have been sent to the downtown area.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), January 15, 2000


Hey Old Git - do you live in the Triangle area? I'm in Apex.

-- Stars and Stripes (stars_n_stripes@my-deja.com), January 15, 2000.

Yes, so are some others. I shall e-mail you privately.

Meanwhile, here's the WRAL report on the problem which differs from what I heard on WTVD.

Saturday January 15, 2000 06:46 PM BellSouth Reports

Problems With Emergency Lines

RALEIGH (WRAL) -- BellSouth is reporting problems that are sporadically blocking 911 calls to the Emergency Communications Center.

BellSouth spokesman David Lane said people can dial 911, but the database that normally tells dispatchers the name and address of the person calling is not working.

The affected area is from St. Mary's Street south to Varsity Drive and east to Yonkers Road. Lane says the office serves about 50 thousand customers, many of which are businesses.

The Raleigh Police Department has increased patrols in the area, and extra personnel is also in place at fire stations in neighborhoods affected by the outage.

Anyone with an emergency who cannot reach 911 should report it to the local fire station.

Lane said the problem should be fixed by Saturday evening. OnLine Producer: Kelly Gardner

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), January 15, 2000.

P.S. I should have added that the information I posted from WTVD came from an on-screen interview with a BellSouth spokesperson. According to WRAL, their information also came from a BellSouth spokesperson. Go figure.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), January 15, 2000.

Old Git, if the dispatch database is not working, that smells and looks like a Y2K problem to me. As I have said before, much of the 911 system base across the U.S. is a hodgepog of older systems kluged with 3rd party gear to pick up the telephone number that calls in, match it to a name and address database, dispatch it to the nearest appropriate response center, record the information, etc.

Few telco vendors make a product that just focuses on this application. A lot of systems are tied together with a software/hardware/networking combination that "should" work. Or not.

Please make sure you have your emergency numbers written down near all telephones in the house. But given your level headedness, I am sure you do!

-- Nancy (wellsnl@hotmail.com), January 15, 2000.

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