Who You Gonna Call When 911 Goes Down?

October 21, 2014

By Rory J. Thompson - Web Editor

Any kind of outage is a cause for concern, because it not only ends up costing someone some money, but even worse, work can grind to a halt and in one incident earlier this year, critical emergency calls for help went nowhere.

The Washington Post is reporting that 911 calls in seven states went unanswered for six hours this past April, and it was all because of a software glitch.

“At the center of the disruption was a system maintained by a third-party contractor, a Colorado-based company called Intrado (News - Alert),” the Post reports. “Intrado owns and operates a routing service, taking in 911 calls and directing them to the most appropriate public safety answering point, or PSAP, in industry parlance. Ordinarily, Intrado's automated system assigns a unique identifying code to each incoming call before passing it on — a method of keeping track of phone calls as they move through the system.”

But on April 9, 2014, the software responsible for assigning the codes maxed out at a pre-set limit, stopping at 40 million calls. That led to cascading failures throughout the 911 infrastructure.

The problem was attributed to a “single coding error,” but it might not be a one-time affair as 911 services begin relying more heavily on automated, Internet-powered infrastructure. It just goes to show how one simple outage can lead to massive problems. Could something similar happen in your enterprise?

If so, it might be worth looking into some sort of backup system, driving home the importance of having the right power protection in place, whether at home or at the office. Critical hardware is connected to the power grid, hardware that can stop all business transactions if it’s affected by a power surge or it simply loses power before all data can be saved. Backup generators are great, but can they ensure that the power supply is uninterrupted? If one source has to kick off before another steps in, data could be lost and valuable hardware damaged unless you create the necessary bridge between the two with solutions from a provider like Minuteman.

Focused on more than just power protection, the company’s solutions also ensure your data is saved before power is lost. Whether you’re relying on your mobile device or a data center, knowing you won’t lose valuable information is the best thing to come out of a power outage. Just take the steps to ensure you’re protected. Because sometimes even the phone goes out, and then who are you going to call?

Edited by Maurice Nagle