Monday, December 1, 2008

Blackout kills 911 service in Florida

Most small business bosses and even home computer users know they need a back-up battery system to keep their computers running when the juice stops flowing from the electric company. Hospitals, hotels and government buildings often have big diesel generators standing-by to provide emergency electricity.

But apparently the folks who run the 911 center in Broward County, Florida (including Fort Lauderdale) had too much faith in the power company.

The outage occurred around 9:45 a.m. on Sunday and affected the 911 call system and the computer aided dispatch system. The department's non-emergency phone line was also affected. Within an hour, the 911 and computer aided dispatch systems were operational again. The non-emergency phone line was restored around noon.

A sheriff's office spokesperson said Florida Power & Light caused the outage. There was no estimate of how many calls may have been missed when the systems were down. Reports that the center was seeking proposals for the installation of a generator powered by gerbils on a treadmill could not be confirmed. (info from

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