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Posted at 6:46 PM ET, 02/ 8/2011

Montgomery pushing Verizon to explain 911 problems during storm

By Michael Laris
Montgomery County

Montgomery County officials said Tuesday that they still have no clear answers from Verizon about what caused widespread technical problems that prevented many cell phone users from reaching 911 during the Jan. 26 storm.

Officials were inundated with 911 calls, Montgomery officials said. Still, some weren't making it through. Late on Jan. 26, Montgomery's responders started hearing from 911 officials in Prince George's County and the District, according to Montgomery spokesman Patrick Lacefield. The neighboring officials said they were receiving calls from Montgomery residents who weren't getting through to 911 in Montgomery, Lacefield said.

"An alarm should have gone off in Verizon and they should have contacted us" hours before, said Montgomery spokesman Patrick Lacefield. "The county wants an explanation from Verizon as to why this happened and we want to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Prince George's officials also complained to Verizon about 911 problems on Jan. 26, as well as on other days. State overseers will consider the matter in a special meeting Thursday.

Verizon provides key telecommunications infrastructure for many 911 systems.

"Some -- but not all -- trunk lines carrying calls from wireless phones temporarily stopped delivering these calls to certain 911 centers," Verizon spokeswoman Sandy Arnette said in a statement. She pointed to "extremely high call volumes" as an explanation, and added that the company had made adjustments and was "reviewing our monitoring practices."

By Michael Laris  | February 8, 2011; 6:46 PM ET
Categories:  Michael Laris, Montgomery County  
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