Feeds

Chicago's emergency call center suffers heat exhaustion

911 down, 311 up

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Chicago's 911 emergency call center was sent into a state of disarray Thursday after a power outage knocked the center offline.

An extremely hot power source is apparently to blame for the 911 shutdown. The faulty power source forced city officials to pull the plug on their communications center and reroute all calls to the 311 number usually reserved for non-emergency problems. During the switch, a number of calls were lost and after the switch too few 311 operators were around to handle the 18,000 emergency calls placed every day.

"There are fewer call takers at 311 than at 911, and for that reason the calls queued up and there was a delay there while the phone was ringing," Ron Huberman, the new director of the 911 center, told the Chicago Sun-Times. "Within an hour window, we fully staffed the 311 center with call takers and dispatchers from the 911 center."

Officials claim this was the first major crisis for the 911 call center, which cost close to $217m and has been operating since 1995. The problem occurred before an evening thunder storm hit Chicago, so it is not thought to be weather related.

The city eventually had the 911 system up and running again on backup power generators and expected to have the standard power supplies back in action later today.

The website for the Chicago Emergency Communication Center says the building "has been designed to minimize stress on the dispatchers and supervisors who work there. The Center provides a comfortable, high security, stress mitigating work environment, with ergonomic furniture and computer equipment, open spaces and natural light, and separate break and workout rooms."

We're sure the workout rooms came in handy yesterday as operators looked for something to do. ®

Related stories

The dot-com revival begins in the Midwest
US telecomms research in disarray - official
Internet inventor Vint Cerf vows to network chickens

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
WRISTJOB LOVE BONANZA: justWatch sex app promises blind date hookups
Mankind shuffles into the future, five fingers at a time
Oz carrier Tiger Air takes terror alerts to new heights
Don't doodle, it might cost you your flight
Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us
Aye, shipmate, it be just like that Minority Report
Every billionaire needs a PANZER TANK, right? STOP THERE, Paul Allen
Angry Microsoftie hauls auctioneers to court over stalled Pzkw. IV 'deal'
Apple's Mr Havisham: Tim Cook says dead Steve Jobs' office has remained untouched
'I literally think about him every day' says biz baron's old friend
Cops apologise for leaving EXPLOSIVES in suitcase at airport
'Canine training exercise' SNAFU sees woman take home booming baggage
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.