Two 911 emergency dispatch outages blamed on Verizon
Westmoreland County officials said they hope the third disruption of service to the 911 dispatch system will be the last.
The system sustained sporadic outages Sunday night, prompting dispatchers to use portable radios for about 15 minutes to send emergency-response crews to the western part of the county.
The Sunday outage was the third in the last two weeks at the emergency dispatch center in Hempfield.
Commissioners Charles Anderson and Tyler Courtney said Tuesday that a review of operations determined a glitch that affected communications on Sunday and last Thursday was caused by equipment provided by Verizon -- not related to internal software and other county computer system failures.
Verizon spokesman Lee Gierczynski confirmed yesterday that investigators determined the outages were caused by a failed telecommunications computer card that works with the radio-dispatch system.
The card was changed on Monday.
"Hopefully that will resolve the issues with the system, but we're continuing to monitor to see if it reoccurs," Gierczynski said.
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.
The failure caused the computer systems to go off-line and then reboot when an emergency generator kicked in.
"It's public safety, and we need to be online and be able to support the citizens of Westmoreland County," Anderson said. "The systems at 911 are now responding to the way they're supposed to run."
Public Safety Department spokesman Dan Stevens said the latest outage affected only dispatches. No 911 calls were lost as a result of the malfunction.
Meanwhile, officials continue to look to upgrade the 911 system. The county last year purchased a new switch system that will enable 911 calls and dispatching functions to be turned over immediately to operations in Indiana and Armstrong counties. The switch system still must be installed, Anderson said.
In other news, commissioners are looking to hire a new executive director of the public safety department. The position became vacant by last year's retirement of Richard Matason.
The county started advertising to find Matason's replacement last month and received about 25 applications.
Courtney said nine candidates will be brought in for interviews. A new director could be hired in about two weeks.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Fiscal concerns define Westmoreland County commissioners race
- Greensburg sculptor finds way to monster career with Syfy opportunity
- 10 candidates seek school board seats in Greensburg Salem
- May Mart plant sale set at West Overton Village & Museums
- State approves permits for gas-fueled electrical generating plant in South Huntingdon
- Hempfield Area High School students may have been exposed to whooping cough
- ‘Very valuable’ antiques lost when suspects ransacked Laurel Mountain homes, relative says
- Odor sparks evacuation of Hempfield’s Marshalls store
- One-car crash knocks out power in Southwest Greensburg