Wednesday, January 16, 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 last 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 …
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Northern Virginia's extreme weather started last winter, meteorologists say.
Derechos, blizzards, hurricanes, thunderstorms, extreme heat...is there any wacky weather Northern Virginia hasn't seen in recent years? This past summer saw enough 100-plus degree days to make 2012 the most intense in 141 years of record-keeping according to the Capital Weather Gang. “Starting from this past winter, we had temperatures that were much above normal,” said Ken Widelski of the National Weather Service. “It was an abnormally warm winter, followed by a cooler than normal spring and we definitely had our periods of hot weather over the summer.” As for this June's derecho, it’s typical climatologically for this area to see a derecho every couple of years, Widelski explained. What was unique about this year's derecho was the …
Thursday, August 30, 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, …
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Sometimes old school technology, or none at all, is the most effective way to deal with emergency situations
The old expression “hanging by the telephone” might confuse anyone under 30 these days. They have no idea what it was like before the advent of cell phones, and for those under 40, they may not remember a time without call-waiting or even answering machines. You had to wait at home for important phone calls. Fast forward to today: You find yourself in a wireless dead zone or your battery dies. Desperation sets in. How will I call home? How can I connect with those I am supposed to have a business meeting? Enter old school technology Do you know that an address book also refers to a small book that has room for alphabetical listing of your friends, family and business contacts with their numbers, addresses and other information? Even if you…
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 …
Thursday, July 5, 2012
While waiting for the power to return, what was your most helpful item?
When a surprise derecho hit Northern Virginia Friday night, its winds downed trees and power lines, cutting off "juice" to thousands in the area. While most customers of Dominion Virginia Power are back up and running, there are still 13,000 homes without power in Northern Virginia Thursday morning, according to the company's latest figures. If you were in the dark after the derecho, what got you through? What was the one most useful item that made it bearable? A generator, a flashlight, a book, ice? Take our poll — and if you don't see your top item in the list, tell us about it in the comments box!
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 neighbhorhoods 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…
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 …
Drivers are reminded to obey four-way stop rules; more than 80 intersections remain dark as of Monday morning.
More than 80 intersections in Fairfax County remain without working traffic lights, according to county staff. Drivers are reminded to obey four-way stop rules at intersections without power: Check for updates on the Fairfax County Emergency Information blog. Fairfax County provided this sampling of the major intersections without working traffic lights as of Monday morning: As of Sunday evening, these traffic signals in the Burke, Springfield area were still without power: Tell us in the comments if you have an addition to the lists, or an update on signals now functioning.