Cause of 9-1-1 data feed issues determined

Posted: 2:12 PM, Jan 30, 2017
Updated: 2018-07-25 01:30:39Z
Cause of 9-1-1 data feed issues determined

The Central Texas Council of Governments determined the cause of the loss of 911 data feeds in Milam County two weeks ago.

The problem was initially reported in Milam and Lampasas County after 911 operators could not see data on their computers, such as name, address and phone numbers of those calling.

The Central Texas Council of Governments, which oversees the 911 system in those counties, rerouted the calls to another line within those 911 centers.

The calls in San Saba, Hamilton, Coryell, Mills counties, which the council also oversees, were also rerouted.

According to Central Texas Council of Governments Executive Director Jim Reed, during a conference call last week with the involved, including Verizon and AT&T, it was discovered a technical issue prompted the data feed loss.

"What finally is determined as a point of failure is a data card in a computer in the Verizon call center in Irving, Texas," Reed said.

He said during his tenure at the council, the system had never had a database issue.

"I've been the executive director for the council of governments for 20 years and this is the first 911 degradation we've had," Reed said.

Reed said the issue lasted from 12 a.m. until 6 a.m. on Jan. 20.

While the issue was being resolved, Cameron Police Department 911 Head Dispatcher Karen Scott said they had to ask questions instead of verifying the information provided by computer data.

"We would ask their location, address, phone numbers and what problems they were having, what kind of help they were needing," Scott said.

She said the overnight dispatcher started noticing an issue when he started receiving calls from the Austin area. At that point, he reported the issue.

Reed said the council is investigating to see whether there is a way for alarms to be set off from the provider's side before dispatchers notice the problem.

He also mentioned that they asked both AT&T and Verizon to see whether they could change their testing protocols in order to test their systems under stress.

A Verizon spokeswoman sent the following statement:

"Verizon had conversations with the customer during which we provided them with a few recommendations that can be used to improve their service moving forward," said the statement.

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