Montgomery Co. officials call for investigation into 9-1-1 outage

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(PHOTO: Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services/ @mcfrsPIO via Twitter)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD – The Montgomery County 9-1-1 system experienced a disruption in service on Sunday night, around 11 p.m. Service has now been restored, according to officials.

On Sunday night, residents received a busy signal instead of the standard call taker response. For roughly two hours, between 11:10 p.m. until 1:09 a.m. Monday morning, the Montgomery County 9-1-1 system was down, officials report. The non-emergency phone lines also experienced outages at this time. ThiDuring that time, alternative plans to receive and dispatch emergency calls were put into action.

In those two hours the 9-1-1 system was down, Fire & Rescue units responded to two medical emergency calls which involved fatalities, a 91-year-old woman from Olney, Maryland and a 40-year-old man from Twinbrook, Maryland. In light of these deaths, County Executive Ike Leggett called for “an immediate investigation into the outage and what impact it may have had on the County’s response time – as well as any consequences.”

The investigation is ongoing at this moment. Preliminary findings suggest that the outage was not caused by an external loss of power or failure of backup generators but rather that it occurred due to an internal equipment failure of an air conditioning system in the IT room of the Alternate Emergency Communications Center, officials report. The report also found that the dispatch console-specific radios were momentarily affected, but staff was able to switch to back-up portable radios.

There are alternatives if callers receive a busy signal or cannot reach a 911 operator.

  • Call 3-1-1 or 240-777-0311. Police officers and Fire and Rescue personnel are on duty at the MC311 call center to assist with any emergency calls.
  • Or call the closest local fire station or police district station.

Public Safety officials urge all residents and business owners to determine now which Fire and Rescue Station and Police District station are closest in the event of an emergency.

Police Stations:

1st District Rockville Station    240-773-6070

2nd District Bethesda Station    240-773-6700

3rd District Silver Spring          240-773-6800

4th District Wheaton                 240-773-5500

5th District Germantown           240-773-6200

6th District Gaithersburg           240-773-5700

If you are uncertain as to which police district serves your community, see:

Fire Station Locations: