Davis said equipment that failed in June was repaired or replaced and worked properly during HurricaneSandy in October.
“I think we passed,” she said.
But not everyone is convinced, and among emergency response directors, concerns appear to have come to a head with the cascade of investigations.
In July, the Federal Communications Commission took the unusual step of opening an official inquiry into the aftermath of the June 29 derecho, including what it called Verizon’s “systemic” 911 failures in Northern Virginia. In September, members of Congress devoted much of a Capitol Hill hearing to exploring the derecho outages in Northern Virginia.
And in Connecticut, state officials recently cited Verizon’s Northern Virginia outages while arguing for stricter reliability standards there for Verizon and other 911 providers. Requiring telephone companies to provide more details on each outage is one of the changes being considered.
“We look to the Virginia . . . situation as an example of the potential harm that can come if we don’t have adequate regulation and standards in place, for both reliability and restoration,” said Elin Swanson Katz, the Connecticut consumer counsel. “It’s a cautionary tale.”
Virginia utility regulators are looking into whether the June outages are evidence of a “systematic deficiency.”
“We have a high level of frustration,” said Jeffrey A. Horwitz of Arlington County’s Emergency Communications Center, which was crucial in the response to the 2001 terrorist strike on the Pentagon. “Worst-case scenarios is what they’re supposed to be prepared for.”
The frustration is shared in Montgomery County, where officials investigated outages that occurred during a January 2011 snowstorm, remembered for its horrendous traffic congestion and epic commutes. Nearly 10,000 calls to Montgomery and Prince George’s counties did not get through, but Verizon remained oblivious to the failures until the counties complained, according to interviews. Federal regulators described that failure as “truly alarming.”
Verizon said the problem has been corrected. But after the June 29 storm, Montgomery officials said, some 911 lines shut down for a week, and again, Verizon did not notify them. Officials said they discovered the outage days later while reviewing calling data. It took days to restore service to the affected lines, Verizon’s Davis told The Post, “because we just missed” the repair request in the crush of problems after the derecho storm.
“We were not happy about that,” said Bill Ferretti, a Montgomery County 911 official. “We should have known.”